Canadian Stem Cell Strategy

12
May 2014
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cellCAN official

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CellCAN aims to make regenerative medicine a reality

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CellCAN, a new national Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy Network officially began operations today in Montreal.

Based at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, the new Network will support clinical development of regenerative medicine.…

CellCAN, a new national Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy Network officially began operations today in Montreal.

Based at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, the new Network will support clinical development of regenerative medicine.

“Regenerative cell therapies offer almost unlimited possibilities that will transform the very nature of medicine and will have a significant impact on our health systems,” said Dr. Denis Claude Roy, a member of the Joint Strategy Working Group for the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy and Director of CellCAN, in a press release.

With Canada ranking among the top countries in the world in stem cell research, the goal of CellCAN is “to provide the essential bridge between research and clinical and commercial applications, helping regenerative medicine and cell therapy to successfully meet expectations.”

CellCAN will bring together the main stem cell therapy centres and different stakeholders involved in stem cell research — scientists, governments, researchers, clinicians, funders, industry, charities, patient representatives and the public.

“Specifically, CellCAN will promote exchanges, cooperation, partnership, development and innovation in regenerative medicine and cell therapy,” said Dr. Roy.

Over the next four years, CellCAN will receive $1.6 million through the Networks of Centres of Excellence Program, which provides national funding on behalf of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, along with Industry Canada and Health Canada.

The Canadian Stem Cell Foundation will closely support and partner with CellCAN in its efforts to facilitate and increase access to stem cell therapies for heart diseases, diabetes, cancer and other diseases that affect Canadians.

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12
May 2014
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Putting patients first in Strategy

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Making sure that Canadian patients have safe, early access to the kind of innovative treatments that will emerge from stem cell research was the focus of the Second Health Charities Forum.…

Making sure that Canadian patients have safe, early access to the kind of innovative treatments that will emerge from stem cell research was the focus of the Second Health Charities Forum.

“There clearly is strong support for moving stem cell research forward safely and effectively,” says James Price, President & CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, which organized the Forum in partnership with the Health Charities Coalition of Canada.  “The health charities, which represent millions of patients, realize they have an absolutely vital role to play in making sure that patients benefit from the emergence of new stem cell based treatments and cures.”

Held April 29th in Toronto, the second Forum — a first was held in November — was part of an ongoing national dialogue to craft a strategy for advancing stem cell research and development.  Discussion centred on ensuring patients can safely access innovative therapies as they make the transition from clinical trials stage to clinical practice.

The health charities leaders agreed that their organizations are ready to play an important role in patient/public engagement for the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan and its ultimate implementation.

Along with input from the health charities, the final draft of the Strategy,  slated to be ready this fall,  will reflect more than nine months of expert stakeholder consultations with  stem cell researchers, business and community leaders, industry and other leaders.

Second Health Charities Forum Participants

• Bill Barrable (The Rick Hansen Institute)
• Alan Bernstein (Canadian Stem Cell Foundation)
• Sîan Bevan (Canadian Cancer Society)
• Sue DeLisle (Canadian Stem Cell Foundation)
• Sam Donaldson (Ontario Stem Cell Initiative)
• Debbie Fung (KPMG)
• Janet Hux (Canadian Diabetes Association)
• Lori Lyons (The Foundation Fighting Blindness- Canada)
• Robin Markowitz (Lymphoma Canada);
• Michael May (Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine)
• Rob Oliphant (The Asthma Society)
• Biljana (Billie) Potkonjak (Canadian Liver Foundation)
• James Price (Canadian Stem Cell Foundation)
• Carolyn Pullen (Heart and Stroke Foundation)
• Johnathan Riley (The Arthritis Society)
• Janet Rossant (Ontario Stem Cell Initiative)
• Lisa Salapatek (Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada)
• Marla Spiegel (Muscular Dystrophy Canada)
• Phil Welford (Stem Cell Network)

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28
Apr 2014
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George Daley Screen Capture

International Panel envisions leading role for Canada in cell therapy boom

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Canada can play a lead role in the coming boom in regenerative medicine and cell therapy technologies, according to an International Expert Advisory Panel.

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

Alan Bernstein

President & Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

Founding President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Toronto, ON

Gregory Bonfiglio

Founder & Managing Partner, Proteus Venture Partners

Portola Valley, CA, USA

Julia Levy

Co-Founder and former President & CEO and Chief Scientific Officer, QLT Inc.

Vancouver, BC

Geoff MacKay

President and Chief Executive Officer, Organogenesis Inc.

Canton, MA, USA

Chris Mason

Professor of Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing

Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, University College of London

London, UK

Debra Mathews

Assistant Director for Science Programs, Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, MD, USA

Stephen Minger

Global Head, Research & Development for Cell Technologies, GE Healthcare Life Sciences

London, UK

Martin Pera

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

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21
Mar 2014
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ARM

The United States takes a step forward in regenerative medicine

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The United States has moved a step forward toward the creation of a national strategy to support research in regenerative medicine.…

The United States has moved a step forward toward the creation of a national strategy to support research in regenerative medicine.

On March 13, The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) announced the introduction of the Regenerative Medicine Promotion Act of 2014.

The ARM is a global advocacy organization and the U.S. national voice for promotion of legislative, regulatory and reimbursement initiatives to accelerate the development of regenerative medicine technologies.

The new bill, supported by the U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Mark Kirk, seeks to advance research in regenerative medicine in the United States.

“Regenerative medicine gives priceless hope to millions of Americans who are suffering from life-threatening or debilitating conditions,” says Senator Boxer in the Senate Press Release.

“As a stroke survivor, I know first hand the importance of medical research and therapy,” adds Senator Kirk.

Regenerative medicine has the potential of regenerating tissues and organs by using techniques that will replace damaged tissues or organs with healthy ones. Many diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, renal failure and osteoporosis may one day be cured through regenerative medicine.

“Regenerative medicine represents the single most promising new approach to mitigating the humans and economic costs of disease, and changing the course of human health,” says Michael Werner, Executive Director of ARM, in the official ARM press release.

ARM contends that further development of the research in regenerative medicine requires a strong federally-directed initiative. It calls for a cohesive governmental policy and funding, and collaboration among scientists, so that regenerative medicine can one day become the standard of care.

The proposed legislation would create a Regenerative Medicine Coordinating Council within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Council, which will include the Cabinet secretaries, agency heads, researchers and other experts and advocates will work on the development of a national strategy for regenerative medicine and identify policy priorities. In addition, the U.S. Government Accountability Office will issue a detailed report on the undergoing federal programs in the field of regenerative medicine.

“A coordinated effort, such as the one outlined in the bill introduced today, will allow us to advance toward innovative, life-saving therapies and create the regulatory infrastructure necessary to encourage private investment in promising regenerative medicine research,” says Morrie Ruffin, Managing Director of ARM, in the ARM press release.

To see the progress made in the development of a Canadian National Stem Cell Strategy click here.

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07
Feb 2014
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The doctors are in

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For a Canadian stem cell strategy to succeed it must make sense to the people who work in the front lines of health care.…

For a Canadian stem cell strategy to succeed it must make sense to the people who work in the front lines of health care. That’s why many of Canada’s most respected medical practitioners gathered in Toronto yesterday to discuss the development of the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy.

The Clinician Forum, which included such notable clinician/researchers as Dr. Hans Messner (who was featured in our recent news article) from Toronto, who pioneered stem cell bone marrow transplants in the early 1970s; Dr. Ivar Mendez, the Unified Head of Surgery of the Province of Saskatchewan, and Dr. Duncan Stewart, CEO and Scientific Director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, was the latest event in a series of national stakeholder consultations. Previous sessions have brought together the country’s top researchers, executives from Canada’s major health charities, biotech leaders and industry experts.

“The clinic is really where the rubber hits the road in terms of health care delivery,” says James Price, President and CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, which is championing the Campaign for a Canadian Stem Cell Strategy. “It’s crucial to hear what the clinicians have to say about how to boost clinical trials and speed up the translation of stem cell research to new therapies as quickly and safely as possible..”

Dr. Denis Claude Roy, Scientific Director of Montréal’s Centre de Recherche De L’Hôpital Maisonneuve Rosemont, and a member of the Joint Strategy Working Group, helped organize the forum to discuss the Strategy, which he sees as increasingly important in finding new treatments. “We have learned to harness the potential of stem cells and are now building on these major developments,” says Dr. Roy. “Tissue repair and even cures are now within reach for a multitude of diseases.”

The Clinician Forum, which also included officials from Health Canada who are responsible for the regulatory framework for clinical research, focused on what actions can be taken to advance clinical research and transform stem cell discoveries into improved health outcomes for patients.

The Participants:

François Auger

Director, Laboratoire d’Organogénèse Expérimental, Full Professor, Surgery Department, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Québec, QC

Peter Ganz

Director, Biologics & Genetic Therapies Directorate, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON

Lucie Germain

Scientific Director, Laboratoire d’Organogénèse Expérimental, Professor, Department of Surgery and Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Québec, QC

Liz Anne Gillham-Eisen

Acting Director, Office of Policy and International Collaboration, Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON

Donna Hogge

Senior Scientist, Terry Fox Laboratory, Clinical Professor, Medicine, University of British Columbia, Member, Leukemia Bone Marrow Transplant Program of BC, Vancouver, BC.

Dominique Johnson

Director, Montréal Health Innovations Coordinating Center, a Division of the Montréal Heart Institute, Montréal, QC

Armand Keating

Director, Cell Therapy Program and Philip S. Orsino Facility for Cell Therapy, Princess Margaret Hospital/Ontario Cancer Institute, Senior Scientist, Division of Experimental Therapeutics, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network, Director, Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine; Epstein Chair in Cell Therapy and Transplantation, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Michael May

Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, Toronto, ON

Jeffrey Medin

Senior Scientist, Ontario Cancer Institute, Senior Scientist, Toronto Western Research Institute, Toronto, ON

Ivar Mendez

Fred H. Wigmore Professor of Surgery, University of Saskatchewan and Unified Head of Surgery for the Province of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK

Hans Messner

Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto, University Health Network, Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, ON

Nicolas Noiseux

Cardiac surgeon, Associate Professor of Surgery, Director of Research Cardiovascular Surgery, Hôtel-Dieu du Centre hospitalier de l’université de Montréal, Montréal, QC

James Price

President & Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, Ottawa, ON

Michael Rosu-Myles

Associate Director, Centre for Biologics Evaluationm, Senior Research Scientist, Stem Cell Research Laboratory, Biologics and Genetic Therapies Directorate, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON

Denis Claude Roy

Director, Cellular Therapy Laboratory, Scientific Director, Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont. Professor at the University of Montréal, Montréal, QC

Michael Rudnicki

Senior Scientist and Director of the Regenerative Medicine Program and the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Professor, Department of Medicine and Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Scientific Director, Stem Cell Network, Ottawa, ON

Khalid Sabihuddin

Program Lead, HUB Health Research Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, ON

Duncan Stewart

CEO & Scientific Director and Senior Scientist in the Regenerative Medicine Program and Evelyne and Rowell Laishley Chair, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Vice-President, Research, The Ottawa Hospital, Professor, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON

Sowmya Viswanathan

Associate Director Cell Therapy Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto, ON

Donna Wall

Professor, Pediatrics and Child Health, Immunology, and Internal Medicine, Pediatric Hematology, Oncology, Transplantation, Director, Manitoba Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, CancerCare Manitoba, University of Manitoba. Winnipeg, MB

Philip Welford

Executive Director, Stem Cell Network, Ottawa, ON

Lori West

Professor of Pediatrics, Surgery and Immunology, Director, Canadian National Transplant Research Program, Director (Acting) and Research Director, Alberta Transplant Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB

David Young

Chair, Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization, Chief Executive Officer, Actium Research Inc., Toronto, ON

Peter Zandstra

Scientific Director, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, Professor, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

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17
Dec 2013
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Industry leaders help plot course

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What will it take to transform Canadian scientists’ innovative research experiments into stem cell therapies?

A group of industry representatives, from small biotech firms to large multinational health care corporations, met in Toronto on Dec.…

What will it take to transform Canadian scientists’ innovative research experiments into stem cell therapies?

A group of industry representatives, from small biotech firms to large multinational health care corporations, met in Toronto on Dec. 13th to share their insights into how the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy should address this key challenge.

“The information gathered at this first Industry Forum will be crucial in helping to shape the Strategy and finding ways to overcome obstacles that can block excellent research from becoming new treatments and cures,” said James Price, President & CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation.

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.

The Industry Forum is one of several consultation sessions underway as part of the process of developing the Strategy. Previous gatherings have included Canada’s major health charities and leading experts in finance and investment. As well, the country’s top scientists are engaged in ongoing discussions to address how to best marshal Canada’s outstanding talent in stem cell research to come up with cures and treatments for currently incurable and untreatable diseases.

Friday’s Forum was followed by a meeting of key members of an International Working Group. The International Group met to give early insight into what other countries are doing and where Canada can have the greatest impact globally.

Industry Forum Participants

Actium Research Inc. 

David Young, Chief Executive Officer

Canadian Stem Cell Foundation

Alan Bernstein,* Chair, Board of Directors

James Price, President & Chief Executive Officer

Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine

Michael Israels, Chief Operating Officer

Michael May,* Chief Executive Officer

Rahul Sarugaser, Director Business Development

GE Healthcare Life Sciences

Fiona Fitzgerald, National Sales and Marketing Manager

Stephen Minger,* Global Head of Research and Development for Cell Technologies

Insception Biosciences Inc.

Richard Lockie, Chief Executive Officer

Tim Smith, Chief Executive Officer

Proteus Venture Partners

Gregory Bonfiglio,* Founder & Managing Partner

Stem Cell Network

Philip Welford,* Executive Director

Stem Cell Therapeutics

James Parsons, Chief Financial Officer

Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics Inc.

Simon Bubnic, Senior Scientist

University College London

Chris Mason,* Chair, Regenerative Medicine Bioprocessing

* Members of the International Working Group for the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy

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11
Dec 2013
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Finance & Investment experts talk Strategy

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It’s not about the money. It’s about finding cures for currently incurable diseases.

But if money does make the world go round, then it will play an important role in ensuring that the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy succeeds.…

It’s not about the money. It’s about finding cures for currently incurable diseases.

But if money does make the world go round, then it will play an important role in ensuring that the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy succeeds.

That’s why a dozen of Canada’s leading thinkers in finance and investment are gathering in Toronto today. Joining the national dialogue, they will share their suggestions on how to best develop and implement — and finance — a strategy to drive stem cell research toward new therapies and treatments.

Participants at the Finance & Investment Forum for a Canadian Stem Cell Strategy include executives from companies that manage billions of dollars of capital investment in enterprises ranging from commercial and industrial real-estate to cutting-edge life sciences technologies.

These men and women will provide their input into how to capitalize on Canada’s outstanding assets in stem cell research to achieve better health outcomes for Canadians, make health care sustainable and build a Canadian industry around regenerative medicine.

“We are fortunate,” says James Price, President & CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation. “We have an amazing array of finance and investment authorities prepared to help us build the Canadian Strategy. This is just the start, but their guidance definitely will help us to align Canada’s resources to deliver new cures and treatments to Canadians.”

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.  Ideas generated at today’s Forum will help in crafting the Strategy.  Similar ongoing consultations with leading stem cell researchers, national health charity leaders, industry and other stakeholders will also help shape the Strategy.

Participants:

  • James Price, President  & Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Stem Cell Foundation 
  • Christine Williams, Vice-President, Research, Canadian Cancer Society
  • Michael May, Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine
  • Donna Parr, President, Crimson Capital
  • Richard Meadows, Managing Partner, CTI Life Sciences Fund
  • Denis Ho, Founder, ImpactLink Capital
  • Randy Benson, Partner, KPMG 
  • Brian Underdown, Managing Director, Lumira Capital
  • Dan Kanashiro, Vice-President Investments, Orlando Corporation
  • Gregory Bonfiglio, Founder & Managing Partner, Proteus Venture Partners
  • Philip Welford, Executive Director, Stem Cell Network
  • Cédric Bisson, Venture Partner, Teralys Capital 
  • Cynthia Lavoie, General Partner, TVM Capital
  • Stefan Larson, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Versant Ventures
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13
Nov 2013
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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.…

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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