Media Releases

University of Toronto receives a $30 million commitment from Heart and Stroke Foundation

June 25, 2013

TORONTO, ON — The Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion has announced a $300 mil­lion ini­tia­tive to sup­port cut­ting-edge heart and stroke research at lead­ing health insti­tu­tions across the coun­try. The fund­ing ini­tia­tive is the largest research com­mit­ment in the organization’s 60-year his­to­ry. It will accel­er­ate the progress of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s goal of reduc­ing Cana­di­ans’ rate of death from heart dis­ease and stroke by 25 per cent by 2020.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to, as a mem­ber of the Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion Research Lead­er­ship Cir­cle, will receive a land­mark $30 mil­lion in research fund­ing over the next 10 years. The com­mit­ment will strength­en the extra­or­di­nary net­work of U of T fac­ul­ty who are already pur­su­ing break­throughs in car­dio­vas­cu­lar research, teach­ing and clin­i­cal inno­va­tion.

The University’s Heart & Stroke Richard Lewar Cen­tre of Excel­lence in Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Research, for exam­ple, has among its mem­bers more than 90 fac­ul­ty researchers who are mak­ing vital con­tri­bu­tions to car­dio­vas­cu­lar sci­ence and clin­i­cal care, such as solv­ing genet­ic mys­ter­ies in heart devel­op­ment, devel­op­ing new diag­nos­tic tests for heart fail­ure, engi­neer­ing replace­ment parts for dam­aged hearts and cre­at­ing new life sav­ing treat­ments.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is also home to world-class strengths in the rapid­ly evolv­ing field of trans­plant research, where advances in stem cell biol­o­gy, cloning, gene ther­a­py and tis­sue engi­neer­ing are cre­at­ing unique oppor­tu­ni­ties to treat and regen­er­ate dam­aged organs, includ­ing the heart.

“The new com­mit­ment from the Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion will pro­vide U of T with a sta­ble source of fund­ing for car­dio­vas­cu­lar research,” says Dr. Michael Fark­ouh, Direc­tor of the Heart & Stroke Richard Lewar Cen­tre of Excel­lence in Car­dio­vas­cu­lar Research, and car­di­ol­o­gist at Uni­ver­si­ty Health Network’s Peter Munk Car­diac Cen­tre. “This will allow us to build on our dis­cov­er­ies and ensure our research is trans­lat­ed into bet­ter health care out­comes for Cana­di­ans who are con­fronting the threat of heart dis­ease and stroke.”

The Foun­da­tion Research Lead­er­ship Cir­cle also includes U of T‑affiliated hos­pi­tals includ­ing the Hos­pi­tal for Sick Chil­dren, Mount Sinai Hos­pi­tal, St. Michael’s, Sun­ny­brook Health Sci­ences Cen­tre and the Uni­ver­si­ty Health Net­work. These insti­tu­tions, togeth­er with U of T, form the largest car­dio­vas­cu­lar research net­work in the coun­try.

“Sim­ply put, there’s an urgent need to save more lives faster and that’s why the Foun­da­tion has brought togeth­er the Research Lead­er­ship Cir­cle,” says David Sculthor­pe, CEO, Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion of Cana­da. “This $300 mil­lion com­mit­ment will allow our part­ners an unprece­dent­ed abil­i­ty to plan major research projects, fos­ter greater col­lab­o­ra­tion and attract even more of the world’s best researchers with­in and out­side of Cana­da to fight these insid­i­ous dis­eases.”

Heart dis­ease and stroke account for almost 30 per cent of annu­al deaths in Cana­da. A Cana­di­an dies from the dis­eases every sev­en min­utes. They are also a major drain on the econ­o­my, result­ing in more than $20.9 bil­lion spent annu­al­ly in physi­cian ser­vices, hos­pi­tal costs, lost wages and decreased pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.

Since 1952, the Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion has pro­vid­ed more than $1.35 bil­lion to heart and stroke research — sec­ond only to the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. How­ev­er, this is the first time the Foun­da­tion has made an up-front com­mit­ment to sup­port long-term research plan­ning. The Foundation’s tra­di­tion­al mer­it-based peer-reviewed grant­i­ng process will con­tin­ue in tan­dem with the new fund­ing ini­tia­tive.

“The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to is thrilled to be part of the Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion Research Lead­er­ship Cir­cle,” says Dr. Michael Fark­ouh. “Work­ing with our insti­tu­tion­al part­ners, we look for­ward to meet­ing the Foundation’s goal of sig­nif­i­cant­ly reduc­ing the impact of heart dis­ease and stroke in Cana­da.”


Con­tact infor­ma­tion

Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to

Lau­rie Stephens
Strate­gic Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Mar­ket­ing
(416) 978‑2105

Suniya Kukaswa­dia
Temer­ty Temer­ty Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine
(416) 978‑7752

Heart and Stroke Foun­da­tion

David Mirch­eff
Envi­ron­ics Com­mu­ni­ca­tions
(416) 969‑2776