Jul 2015

Dr. Duncan Stewart (Ottawa Citizen)

‘It would be a shame for us to slide back’

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Canada is losing ground in the field it founded, says Dr. Duncan Stewart, one of the world’s leading stem cell scientists.

“Generally, the pace (of funding) is slower and I think we are losing ground compared to other jurisdictions,” Dr. Stewart told the Ottawa Citizen’s Elizabeth Payne. “Canada has been a leader in this area. It would be a shame if we were to slide back.”

Dr. Stewart, Executive Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital,  recently published results of the world’s first clinical trial of a genetically enhanced stem cell treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension, a deadly disease for which there is no cure. The  results are promising, but a larger study is needed to see if the new therapy can produce long-term results. The money to do it, however, just isn’t there.

As the Citizen article points out: “Just as the promise of potential new stem cell therapies is blossoming, research funding is more uncertain than ever.”

The reality is Canadian researchers are poised to deliver new cures for devastating conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders like MS and Crohn’s, and neurological conditions like Parkinson’s, stroke and spinal cord injury. But it will take a coordinated effort to make that happen.

Our Foundation leads the coalition of researchers, medical professionals, health charities, industry leaders and philanthropists behind the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan. A bold private/public partnership, it would see Canada lead the way in delivering up to 10 new curative therapies within 10 years.



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