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Thursday, November 24 2016

Funding through the Stem Cell Network to support innovative stem cell and regenerative medicine research

Dr. Massimiliano Paganelli awarded financial support for his research on the development of liver diseases therapy

OTTAWA, November 24, 2016 – The Stem Cell Network (SCN) with the support of the Minister of Science, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, is pleased to announce funding of $9 million for innovative stem cell and regenerative medicine research that will help translate discoveries into better health and economic growth for Canadians. This funding was made available thanks to a 2016 budget commitment of $12 million over two years by the Government of Canada to further the work of the Stem Cell Network. Today’s funding is being matched with partner support of $20 million.

SCN is funding a total of 31 goal-directed projects from across Canada, including Dr. Massimiliano Paganelli's research project. Dr. Paganelli is the principal investigator of one of the 8 projects awarded within the Disease Team Research Agreement ProgramDr Paganelli’s research aims at treating liver diseases by the means of cellular therapy. Specifically, Paganelli’s project aims at developping and testing an innovative stem cell-based product that express most of the functions of a mature liver tissue to restore the lacking liver functions in patients.

“For years, Canadian researchers have been known leaders in regenerative medicine. The funding announced today will support projects that encourage important partnerships between universities, hospitals and businesses so they may collaborate on bold new stem cell technologies and health innovations that will improve the lives of Canadians. Through the Stem Cell Network, I am confident Canadians are gaining a better understanding of this promising research, the results of which contribute to a strong and healthy middle class.” – The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“We are a nation of leaders and innovators, it is in our DNA,” said Dr. Michael Rudnicki, OC, Scientific Director of SCN. “The regenerative medicine research sector is fueled by stem cells and today it is at a tipping point, with the potential to see breakthroughs in our generation. I am thrilled that SCN is able to power the foundation of scientific excellence that exists within Canada’s universities, research hospitals and institutes.”

In Canada, chronic diseases absorb approximately 67 percent, or two-thirds, of all direct healthcare spending and their burden on the health-care system continues to outpace economic growth. However, the disruptive power of stem cells makes it possible to turn the page in the decades to come.

SCN is flowing funds through three strategic programs

The Clinical Trials Program will provide $4.214M for 6 trials. A total of 38 investigators (6 Principal Investigators & 32 Co-Investigators) at 12 institutions and 50 trainees will be engaged in these trials, which will determine the safety and efficacy of new stem cell treatments in humans. This is the first time in SCN’s history that it has offered support for clinical trials. This program supports phase I/II trials with the potential to be economically viable for health care systems and show a benefit to patients. Funded trials will focus on a spectrum of health issues including treating fatal illnesses such as septic shock, evaluating a stem cell therapy for diabetes, and expanding stem cells from cord blood for efficacious and cost effective transplantation. Researchers will also be working in the areas of acute myocardial infarction, liver transplantation and type 1 diabetes.

The Disease Team Research Agreement Program will provide $3.281M for 8 projects. A total of 41 investigators (8 Principal Investigators & 33 Co-Investigators) at 11 institutions and more than 80 trainees will be engaged. Multidisciplinary teams supported through this program are focused on novel cellular or stem cell-related therapeutic approaches to treat disease. Commercialization is an important component for this program, as projects must demonstrate a path to market or clinic. Research supported from this competition will address treatments for diseases such as arthritis, liver failure, and type 1 diabetes. In addition, support will be provided to further ongoing research that is looking at existing drugs for the regeneration of neural tissue after a brain injury.

The Impact Research Agreement Program will provide $1.54M for 17 projects that span clinical translation, commercialization and public policy.  A total of 27 investigators (17 Principal Investigators & 10 Co-investigators) at 15 research institutions will benefit and more than 60 trainees will be engaged. Diseases such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, and kidney disease will all be studied. Commercialization topics include 3D printing of neural tissues, and the scalable production of engineered micro tissues.

Full list of funded research projects

About the Stem Cell Network

Supporting and building Canada’s stem cell and regenerative medicine research sector has been the raison d’etre of the Stem Cell Network (SCN) since its inception in 2001.  Its work has been supported by the Government of Canada from the beginning. SCN’s mandate is to act as a catalyst for enabling the translation of stem cell research into clinical applications, commercial products and public policy. In just over 15 years SCN has forged a national community that has transformed stem cell research in Canada, brought research to the point where regenerative medicine is changing clinical practice and established an outstanding international reputation. SCN has pushed the boundaries of what was a basic research area towards translational outcomes for the clinic and marketplace. More on stemcellnetwork.ca

About the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center

CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center is a leading mother-child research institution affiliated with Université de Montréal. It brings together more than 200 research investigators, including over 90 clinician-scientists, as well as 360 graduate and postgraduate students focused on finding innovative prevention means, faster and less invasive treatments, as well as personalized approaches to medicine. The Center is part of CHU Sainte-Justine, which is the largest mother-child center in Canada and second most important pediatric center in North America. More on research.chusj.org

For information

Cate Murray
Director, Communications & External Affairs
Stem Cell Network
+1 613 979-6174

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Updated on 11/25/2016
Created on 11/24/2016
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