Canada can play a lead role in the coming boom in regenerative medicine and cell therapy technologies, according to an International Expert Advisory Panel.
Led by Chair Dr. George Q. Daley of Harvard Medical School, pictured at left, the panelists agreed that stem cell research and development is at a major inflection point, and that the next decade will see the arrival of novel disease treatments that will transform patients’ lives and build a new multibillion dollar cell therapy industry.
The Panel, with experts from stem cell research, ethics, and commercialization and the biomedical industry, met in Toronto earlier this spring to review a draft of the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan.
Panelists agreed that Canada is in a strong position thanks to a remarkable record of research excellence, from the discovery of stem cells more than 50 years ago by Drs. Jim Till and Ernest McCulloch to Dr. John Dick’s identification of the cellular origins of leukemia earlier this year.
The Panel also cited Canada’s collaborative, well-trained and well-equipped R&D community and the country’s universal health care system, which can facilitate large-scale clinical trials, as other key factors in driving new therapies to the clinic.
They saw a clear need for developing and implementing a Canadian strategy to capitalize on those strengths and capture the health and economic benefits that to be realized over the next 10 years.
The International Expert Advisory Panel will meet again in Vancouver in June. The Panel’s comments and suggestions — along with those from workshops with health charities organizations, clinicians, researchers, industry leaders and philanthropists — will help shape the final version of the Strategy.
International Expert Advisory Panel Members
George Q. Daley (Chair)
Samuel E. Lux IV Professor of Hematology/Oncology, Harvard Medical School
Director, Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Children’s Hospital Boston
Boston, MA, USA
President & Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research
Founding President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Founder & Managing Partner, Proteus Venture Partners
Portola Valley, CA, USA
Co-Founder and former President & CEO and Chief Scientific Officer, QLT Inc.
President and Chief Executive Officer, Organogenesis Inc.
Canton, MA, USA
Professor of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing
Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, University College of London
Assistant Director for Science Programs, Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore, MD, USA
Global Head, Research & Development for Cell Technologies, GE Healthcare Life Sciences
Professor Stem Cell Sciences, University of Melbourne
Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and The Florey Neurosciences Institute
Program Leader of Stem Cells Australia
Melbourne, VIC, Australia