Nov 2013

Canada’s Health Charities share insights on Stem Cell Strategy

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Leaders from 18 national health-based charities are gathering in Toronto today as part of a national dialogue to define a bold vision and strategy for advancing stem cell research toward new therapies and treatments.

Participants at the Health Charities Forum for a Canadian Stem Cell Strategy — whose organizations speak for millions of Canadians dealing with conditions that range from Alzheimer’s disease to spinal cord injury — will consider how to build on Canada’s tremendous strength in stem cell research to achieve better health outcomes for Canadians.

“The idea,” says James Price, President & CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, “is to get Canada’s leading charities in one place and hear what they think should be included in a Canadian Strategy.  Because stem cells have the potential to make an impact on almost every disease, we need the health charities’ input.”

The Foundation, in partnership with the Stem Cell Network, the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, the Ontario Stem Cell Initiative and the Health Charities Coalition of Canada  is leading the campaign for a Canadian Stem Cell Strategy.

“We believe that stem cell science could soon lead to new therapies for a wide range of devastating diseases,” says Deirdre Freiheit, Executive Director of the HCCC, which helped put the Forum together. “That’s why our Coalition supports the dialogue to investigate creating a Canadian strategy that can bring together all the players to make these new treatments and cures a reality.”

Ideas generated at the Forum will help in crafting the White Paper that will form the basis of the Strategy.  Similar ongoing consultations with leading stem cell researchers, business and community leaders, industry and other stakeholders will also help shape the Strategy.

At the Forum, health charities leaders will discuss the outcomes they expect a Canadian Stem Cell Strategy to deliver and the guiding principles they would like to see put in place.  “This is a major first step in the consultation process with the charities,” says the Foundation’s Price. “But it won’t be the last. We are building a critically important dialogue.”

Who’s at the table?

• Alzheimer Society of Canada
• Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation
• Canadian Cancer Society
• Canadian Diabetes Association
• Canadian Liver Foundation
• Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada
• Cystic Fibrosis Canada
• Health Charities Coalition of Canada
• Heart and Stroke Foundation
• JDRF Canada
• Kidney Cancer Canada
• Lymphoma Foundation Canada
• Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
• Muscular Dystrophy Canada
• Prostate Cancer Canada
• The Foundation Fighting Blindness – Canada
• The Kidney Foundation of Canada
• The Rick Hansen Institute

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