Stem cells have the potential to transform Canadian health care by improving patient outcomes and making the system more efficient, according to a new report by the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA).
Titled Building on Canada’s Strengths in Regenerative Medicine, the report was commissioned by the federal government’s Ministries of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) and Health Canada
“We especially appreciate Science Minister Kirsty Duncan’s efforts at highlighting Canada’s academic research strengths in stem cells,” said James Price, President and CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation. “This is another good example — this time focusing on academic strengths — of how Canada’s depth in stem cells and regenerative medicine is now being widely recognized.
The CCA document follows last month’s report by the Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth that singled out the stem cell sector and suggested that building on Canada’s “world-class regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy development“ could unlock innovation and drive economic growth.
The CCA report, the release of which coincides with the beginning of the two-day PanCanadian Strategic Forum on Cell and Gene Therapy in Montreal, hosted by CellCAN — Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy Network and BioCanRx. It will feature a panel discussion, moderated by Mr. Price and featuring a talk by Dr. Janet Rossant, chair of the steering committee that produced the CCA report, looking at ways to move the field forward.
Among the report’s key findings:
- There is a need for a long-term funding strategy to encourage research and development across the country.
- There is an opportunity to accelerate translation of research discoveries into clinical applications.
- There needs to be greater co-ordination between the federal regulators who decide about the safety and efficacy of stem cell/regenerative medicine therapies and the provincial reimbursers who decide what therapies will be covered by health care plans.