Unveiling its 2016 funding awards last week, the Stem Cell Network announced support for six clinical research trials for new cell-based treatments.
“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,” said Dr. Michael Rudnicki, Scientific Director of the Stem Cell Network.
One of the big winners was Dr. Lauralyn McIntyre, a researcher/clinician at The Ottawa Hospital and a professor at the University of Ottawa. Her team receives $1 million of the $9 million in announced funding to conduct a cross-Canada Phase 2 clinical trial of mesenchymal stem cell therapy for septic shock. We profiled her work on the deadly condition here.
Her colleague at The Ottawa Hospital, Dr. Duncan Stewart, will use his $999,546 award to advance his work testing enhanced angiogenic cell therapy for acute heart attacks. Check out Dr. Stewart’s Q&A here.
As well, Dr. Sandra Cohen at the Hôpital Maisonneuve Rosemont in Montreal will investigate ways to improve the expansion of cord blood hematopoietic stem cells via her $999,968 award.
Two diabetes trials were also funded: Dr. Timothy Kieffer of the University of British Columbia gets $500,000 to test a stem cell therapy for insulin replacement, while Dr. James Shapiro of the University of Alberta receives almost the same amount for a clinical trial to solve the “supply and survival problem” in using stem cell transplants. Both Dr. Kieffer and Shapiro also receive $500,000 in funding through the Network’s Disease Team Program.
In all, 31 projects from across Canada will receive funding to help move research from lab bench to bedside in areas such as brain injury, kidney disease and breast cancer.
Making the announcement, Science Minister Kirsty Duncan said the investment will help translate discoveries into better health and economic growth for Canadians. It was made possible with the announcement of a two-year, $12-million extension of the Stem Cell Network in the March federal budget.
In a news release, Dr. Stewart said the funding “brings us a big step closer to figuring out how to harness the incredible potential of stem cells to treat devastating diseases.”