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Ngan Lam, MD

Supervisor: Dr. Amit Garg
Award: KRESCENT Fellowship
Institution: Lawson Health Research Institute
Year: 2012-2015

Dr. Ngan Lam will complete her post-doctoral fellowship under the supervision of Dr. Amit Garg at the London Health Sciences Centre. She will study the prevention of renal injury in patients receiving antiviral drugs to treat herpes infection. Dr. Lam obtained her M.D. at the University of Toronto and is currently working on her master’s in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at Western University.

Shingles, a type of herpes, is caused by the chicken pox virus and is common among older people. It manifests as painful sores or rashes on the skin. Although effective in the treatment of shingles acyclovir can form crystals in the kidneys, thereby affecting their normal functioning. However, famciclovir (similar to acyclovir in its treatment) does not appear to have the same damaging effects on the kidneys. The aim of Dr. Lam’s research is to study the risk of kidney injury from certain drugs used to treat shingles by studying all older patients in Ontario who have been prescribed these drugs, and her goal is to understand the extent of this problem and how the risk with acyclovir compares to that with famciclovir. This is an important area of research since the number of people over age 65 will increase to almost 6 million in Canada by the year 2016, with over 126,000 people being treated with these types of drugs on an annual basis. The findings will better inform doctors and their patients about the potential risks of acyclovir and may help prevent kidney injury in the future, as doctors may choose to monitor their patients more carefully or decide to use other drugs when treating shingles in this population.