Media Releases

Important funding for nanomedicine research to improve diagnosis and treatment

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.

Watch video about Dr. Kel­ley’s research project

Back­grounder on fund­ed projects

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.

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