Mar 2012

If Canada’s game is hockey, its science is stem cells

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Dr. Alan BernsteinIn today’s Globe and Mail, Dr. Alan Bernstein, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, helps put Canada’s capabilities in stem cell science in to perspective.

“Canada founded the entire field of stem-cell science. We have done much of the heavy lifting for decades: discovering neural stem cells, skin stem cells and cancer stem cells. If hockey is Canada’s game, stem-cell science is Canada’s science. Not knowing about Dr. Till and Dr. McCulloch is not knowing about Maurice Richard and Wayne Gretzky.”

Dr. Bernstein goes on to explain that, not only do we have extraordinary talent and have achieved tangible results, we have made our accomplishments as a nation despite very modest funding. Here’s how he puts it:

“What’s even more remarkable is that Canada does such groundbreaking research on a dime. The “all in” investment in stem-cell research in Canada – public, private and charitable funding – is about $75-million. This support is provided by Canadians through taxes, donations to health charities and the generosity of community leaders – individuals such as Robert and Cheryl McEwen of Toronto and the late Harley Hotchkiss of Calgary. But we still seriously lag behind California, which, with roughly the same population as Canada, has committed $3-billion over 10 years for stem-cell research.”

You can read the entire article here.

Alan Bernstein is chair of the board of directors of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation. He was founding president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and former head of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise in New York, and is incoming president of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.

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