March 16, 2011
TORONTO, ON – Seven new research projects on regenerative medicine and nanomedicine received $16 million in funding. The studies, co-funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), were announced today at the University of Toronto by Dr. Colin Carrie, Member of Parliament for Oshawa; Dr. Jane Aubin, Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis; Mr. Gilles Leclerc, Director General, Space Exploration at the Canadian Space Agency; and Professor Peter Lewis, Associate Vice President (Research) at the University of Toronto.
“The Government of Canada is proud to support regenerative medicine and nanomedicine projects that will translate into improved health for Canadians,” said Dr. Carrie. “The knowledge that emerges from these research projects could also have wide ranging social and economic benefits.”
“CIHR is delighted to partner with the Canadian Space Agency to support research aimed at developing technologies and approaches to improve patient outcome,” said Dr. Aubin.
“The research projects announced today seek to offer new therapies and approaches to treat illnesses and diseases, and ultimately offer better quality of life for patients and their families.”
Research on nanomedicine and regenerative medicine is designed to prevent disease and improve human health. Nanomedicine delivers medical technologies that detect or function at the molecular level to diagnose and treat disease, while regenerative medicine stimulates the renewal of bodily tissues and organs or restores function through natural and bioengineered means. Various innovations in these areas have helped combat vascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and other chronic diseases. By promoting research in these areas, CIHR and CSA will be moving Canada to the forefront of modern medical research.
“By working together, CIHR and the CSA are supporting scientific research and innovations that have applications for health care on earth and in space and provide real benefits for Canadians,” said Mr. Leclerc. “Our hope is that cutting-edge diagnostic tools will improve astronaut health in space and be adapted for the early detection and treatment of disease here on earth.”
“We congratulate the talented researchers who are leading the projects and believe their work on integrating new technologies into health research holds the potential to dramatically change the way we diagnose and treat diseases,” said Professor Lewis.
The projects underwent a rigorous and competitive peer review process and were selected according to international standards of scientific excellence.
This funding will enable researchers to potentially:
• Identify microlesions in multiple sclerosis, using a new tool for quantifying the cause of the disease and how well a treatment is working, Dr. Daniel Côté, Université Laval;
• Create personalized nanomedicines that silence cancer-causing genes, Dr. Petier Cullis, University of British Columbia;
• Develop microchip-based devices to analyze prostate cancer markers in blood, Dr. Shana Kelley, University of Toronto;
• Generate transplantable, insulin-producing cells from stem cells for diabetes, Dr. Timothy Kieffer, University of British Columbia;
• Develop innovative sensorimotor rehabilitation approaches for patients with spinal cord injuries or stroke, Dr. Serge Rossignol, Université de Montréal;
• Study how novel therapeutic interventions can regenerate blood vessels, Dr. Michael Sefton, University of Toronto; and,
• Develop nanotechnology-enabled image-guided methods of diagnosing and treating lung cancer and vascular diseases, Dr. Gang Zheng, University Health Network.
About Canadian Institutes of Health Research
For the past 10 years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has supported better health and health care for Canadians. As the Government of Canada’s health research investment agency, CIHR enables the creation of evidence-based knowledge and its transformation into improved treatments, prevention and diagnoses, new products and services, and a stronger, patient-oriented health-care system. Composed of 13 internationally recognized Institutes, CIHR supports more than 13,600 health researchers and trainees across Canada. www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca
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