KGHRI Intensive care specialist receives $5.7 million to study burn injury treatment

News / Research
By Mary Anne Beaudette

Global clinical trial will examine effectiveness of glutamine

An intensive care physician with the Kingston General Hospital Research Institute has been awarded $5.7 million to study the use of glutamine on patients with severe burns.

Dr. Daren Heyland is lead investigator in the five-year study, which will examine the effectiveness of glutamine, an inexpensive nutrient, on 2,700 patients in more than 60 burn and intensive-care units worldwide. “This is the largest trial of burn-injured patients ever,” says Dr. Heyland, who is also Professor of Critical Care Medicine at Queen’s University.

Dr. Heyland is the Director of the Clinical Evaluation Research Unit (CERU) at Kingston General Hospital, which will function as the coordinating centre for this international trial. The study is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

“We are all so excited that we’ve received this funding as it gives us the opportunity to evaluate whether glutamine can save lives and reduce suffering experienced by burn injury victims,” he says.

Studies have shown that glutamine levels decrease acutely during critical illness and low levels of glutamine are associated with immune dysfunction and increased mortality.  

The project builds on a broad portfolio of patient-oriented research by Dr. Heyland and the team at CERU, including multiple clinical research studies in critical care units conducted around the world, and several projects aimed at improving the care of seriously ill, elderly patients.  

“CERU’s mission is to improve the care of acutely ill patients through knowledge that translates into better care and better results for patients, and improved efficiencies to our health care system,” Dr. Heyland says. “CERU staff have the experience and resources to support successful completion of all phases of the design, conduct, monitoring, and interpretation of multicentre clinical studies.

“It’s been a great blessing and opportunity to work with dedicated and professional staff at CERU,” he says. “They have enabled us to be involved in such high-level, international projects.”

For more information on CERU, see

For more information on the glutamine study, see