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Dr. Gaspard Montandon

Delving into drug-induced respiratory depression

Dr. Gaspard Montandon
Departments of Medicine and Physiology
University of Toronto

Life-threatening respiratory depression by drugs such as opioid analgesics is a dramatic health and medical issue affecting many Canadians. With support from the Canadian Lung Association – CIHR Postdoctoral Award (2007-2008) and the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (2009-2011), Dr. Montandon's research has identified the neural and cellular mechanisms underlying respiratory depression, which constitute an essential step toward therapy development. 

"Respiratory depression by drugs is affecting a large population of Canadians due to the current high use of prescription pain killers or drugs of abuse, with a high mortality rate comparable to AIDS mortality rate. Our understanding of respiratory depression is however poor and the support of research programs investigating this issue is essential. With seven articles published in high-impact journals during the tenure of these awards, and five additional publications in preparation, these awards have substantially contributed to my productivity and to the success of my research," says Dr. Montandon.

"The support provided by the CTS Postdoctoral Award has greatly contributed to our understanding of respiratory depression with this research now leading toward the development of new therapies. Through its provincial program, the Ontario Thoracic Society also supports clinical research on respiratory depression by funding research in children receiving opioid drugs."