Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine

12
Dec 2016
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A major boost for Canada’s stem cell sector: Bayer/Versant Ventures invest $225 million

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The announcement by Bayer AG and Versant Ventures that they will invest $225 million U.S. to create a Toronto-based cell-therapy company shows the massive opportunities to be realized in the next wave of stem cell R&D and illustrates how visibility and support for the sector is soaring.…

The announcement by Bayer AG and Versant Ventures that they will invest $225 million U.S. to create a Toronto-based cell-therapy company shows the massive opportunities to be realized in the next wave of stem cell R&D and illustrates how visibility and support for the sector is soaring.

“We think we’re on the cutting edge of the next generation of stem-cell therapies,” said Brad Bolzon, Managing Director of Versant Ventures in a report by the Globe and Mail.

According to Bayer’s press release, the new company, called BlueRock Therapeutics, will advance breakthrough treatments based on latest stem cell technology with an initial focus on finding treatments for cardiovascular diseases and neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease, two areas where Canadian research is particularly strong.  The investment, one of the largest-ever first-round financings for a biotech company, gives BlueRock Therapeutics at least four years to get a number of programs into the clinic.

It comes in the wake of several developments including the Stem Cell Network’s announcement of $9 million in funding for projects to turn research into new treatments and the Canada First Research Excellence Fund’s $114-million grant to the University of Toronto’s Medicine by Design program.  As well, the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine announced earlier this year that it will receive $20 million in federal funds, matched by GE Healthcare, to develop cell manufacturing capacity in Canada.

“All of these announcements align with the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy’s goals of mobilizing private capital and attracting investment,” said James Price, President and CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation.  “They are strong indications that Canada is well positioned to lead in the next wave of stem cell advances.  That’s why we’re seeking a commitment from the Liberal Government to make stem cell research and development a national priority.”

The Canadian Stem Cell Strategy is designed to deliver 10 new therapies to the clinic within 10 years, create 12,000 jobs and position Canada as a global leader in the field.  It calls on the Government to provide one-third of the total investment, about $50 million annually over 10 years for a total of $500 million, to be doubled by $1 billion in private and philanthropic investments.

An indication of the economic power of stem cell R&D is exemplified by BC’s STEMCELL Technologies Inc., which, with 900 workers and $150 million in annual revenues, has become Canada’s largest biotech by selling high-quality “Made in Canada” stem cell products worldwide.

“We have a huge opportunity in front of us, an opportunity we don’t want to miss,” said Mr.  Price.  “Visibility and support for the sector has never been stronger.  We just need to take the next big step forward with the Strategy.”

 

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18
Aug 2016
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Coming soon: the stem cell blog carnival

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Summer isn’t really summer without a local fair or carnival to enjoy — a place you can have a variety of experiences, from riding bumper cars and tasting weird food treats to seeing expertly executed home crafts.…

Summer isn’t really summer without a local fair or carnival to enjoy — a place you can have a variety of experiences, from riding bumper cars and tasting weird food treats to seeing expertly executed home crafts.

Next week we will be adopting the carnival concept to discussing stem cells.  Organized by Stacey Johnson at the Canadian Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), the Thursday, Aug. 25 blog carnival will feature blogs from across the stem cell research community — including this one — posting different perspectives on a single subject. Here’s what everyone will be blogging about:

It’s been 10 years since scientists Shinya Yamanaka and Kazutoshi Takahashi announced their discovery on Aug. 25, 2006 that adult cells could be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to look and function like embryonic stem cells. In the decade since their discovery, converting this science into useful treatments for diseases like heart failure or diabetes has yet to be fully realized. When do you think this technology will result in commercial products or new revolutionary medical treatments, and why?

It all happens in one week’s time. You can find out more about the blog carnival at CCRM’s highly informative Signals blog.  Signals will be the site where, on Aug. 25, you can link to other writers’ unique insights on the subject.  Watch for it!

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25
Feb 2016
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Dr. Michael May, right, with Elyse Allan President and CEO, GE Canada, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Q&A with Michael May: New cell manufacturing centre will clear bottlenecks, attract clinical trials 

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It can take millions of cells to do the most simple stem cell transplant. Coming up with ways to produce huge volumes of pure, safe cells is a challenge.

It can take millions of cells to do the most simple stem cell transplant. Coming up with ways to produce huge volumes of pure, safe cells is a challenge. In mid-January, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made an appearance at the MaRS Discovery District building in downtown Toronto to announce $20 million in federal funding for advanced therapeutic cell manufacturing to be managed by the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), with GE Healthcare also committing $20 million. CCRM’s CEO Dr. Michael May talks about plans for the centre.

QHow did this come about?

A: This has been evolving over five years as we developed very strong relationships with industry leaders, of which GE HealthcCare is one. As the industry evolves, manufacturing issues are maybe the most talked about bottleneck in cell and gene therapy.

Q: What is your centre going to do?

A: This centre is a business unit of the overall CCRM operation. It has two main activities. One is targeting particular bottlenecks — strategic gaps in the industry — around particular cell types and specific operations and then inventing solutions that can be commercialized as tools and devices. The second thing is the centre will utilize the expertise in the team and the new solutions that will be invented, or technologies that will be integrated, to tackle company problems on a fee-for-service basis.

Q: Can you give a hypothetical example?

A: Any company, large or small, or an academic who is making cells likely has not addressed scale-up and manufacturing in an appropriate way. They are a potential client for not only the solutions we will come up with but also the fee-for-service optimization and scale-up that we will do.

Q: So, if I’m a scientist and I want to do some testing using a particular cell type, but I need millions and millions of cells, I come to you?

A: Yes. We might help in lots of different ways. If there is scale-up that’s needed, we would advise on what needs to get done and create a project around that. And we could hopefully help fund it. It could be fee-for-service or a co-development or any combination.

Q: The space that you have, will scientists be using it themselves or will they be hiring your team to do something for them?

A: It’s not that we would advise them what to do and they would go off to their labs and do it. This will be an advanced manufacturing centre. Our focus with this funding will be our new Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility to make cells for clinical trials. We are going to hire 30 to 40 people to conduct these projects and do this fee-for-service work.

Q: You’ve got GE Healthcare as a major partner, but do you want more businesses to come in?

A: This is a consortium model. GE Healthcare is an anchor partner but we want to bring together and integrate technologies from other sources as well. So, we’re looking for technology partners. But we’re also looking for clients — cell therapy companies that need these solutions. An advantage of the site is it is in such a rich clinical environment in Toronto and, more broadly, Canada. That was a great attraction for GE because it enables them to engage with their customers in clinical trials and projects where the technologies can be stress-tested. This is real-time engagement of the community and the market.

Q: What’s the facility itself?

A: The facility is in MaRS (a not-for-profit corporation founded in downtown Toronto in 2000). It’s going to be part of an entire floor of activities focused on regenerative medicine. There will be the GMP facility there. Our CCRM employees will be there.  It will also be the headquarters for the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the University of Toronto’s new Medicine by Design project. So when people enter the 10th floor of MaRS, they are going to see a very integrated, co-ordinated ecosystem in and around cell therapy and regenerative medicine.

Q: Will you be working with other cell manufacturing centres like the one opening in Edmonton, and centres in Laval, Montreal and Ottawa?

A: We’re working with those through CellCAN, that’s one point of contact. I was just in Montreal and promoting the idea of the centre being the process development arm. If we need to optimize or scale up manufacturing we can do it in our centre and transfer those solutions back to manufacturing facilities as needed across the country.

Q: So it’s the Canadian model of working collaboratively, not competitively?

A: Absolutely. Although this will be, within MaRS, a very unique ecosystem, it has to be integrated with other activities across the country. It has to be integrated with other activities across the globe. Trying to achieve the proper scale is impossible with one centre or even one country.

Q: What are the anticipated outcomes?

A: The outcomes will be new technologies and tools to enable clinical- and commercial-scale manufacturing of cells — so there will be very tangible widgets that come out. Over the medium term, there will be a blueprint for cell manufacturing of the future,with integration of a number of technologies. We believe this centre will attract clinical trials to Canada and accelerate the development of technologies and clinical translation so more patients will be receiving cell therapies. It will support companies created in Canada but, as I mentioned, attract companies to Canada. We can’t just talk about scientific leadership anymore. We have to be leading commercialization. We need to be leading translation, through clinical trials. And this piece is manufacturing. Because with manufacturing comes stickiness and companies that are sustainable in Canada.

Q: What do you mean by ‘stickiness?’

A: This is advanced manufacturing; it’s not like making a car that you can diffuse production to the cheapest site in the world. This is an area where the leading edge is still being developed. If we are the leaders in manufacturing cells and those cells get manufactured here, then the companies that are here and the jobs we create here will be sticky.

 

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16
Jan 2016
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Drew Lyall

Stem cell community loses a treasured friend

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The stem cell community is mourning the loss of one of its most cherished champions, Andrew David Lyall.

Mr. Lyall — Drew to all who knew him — was the inaugural executive director of the Stem Cell Network and, over 12 years, helped build it into an internationally respected research and development powerhouse.…

The stem cell community is mourning the loss of one of its most cherished champions, Andrew David Lyall.

Mr. Lyall — Drew to all who knew him — was the inaugural executive director of the Stem Cell Network and, over 12 years, helped build it into an internationally respected research and development powerhouse. He died at the Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital in Ottawa on Saturday a few days shy of his 50th birthday after an eight-year battle with melanoma.

“He did more than anyone who wasn’t a scientist to advance the field of stem cells in Canada,” said James Price, President and CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, where Mr. Lyall previously served as a director. “He emulated the spirt of collaboration that can be traced back to James Till and Ernest McCulloch and that has been vital to the field’s success over the past 15 years.”

Dr. TilI, the surviving partner of the research duo that proved the existence of stem cells more than 50 years ago, credited Mr. Lyall with persuading stem cell scientists across Canada to integrate their efforts. “Drew played a crucial role in the success of the Network, which built an extraordinary community of researchers and scholars. It also played an important role in the establishment of several other innovative initiatives, such as the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation. The impact will be felt for years to come.”

While dealing with his own imminent death, Mr. Lyall remained a model of calm dignity.  He kept friends up to date via a lively and often funny private blog. When his treatment shifted from therapeutic to palliative care he was realistic but unfailingly upbeat. He posted that he had “enjoyed a life to be very grateful for” and encouraged friends to write letters to their own children, as he had done, telling them “what you value about them, the good times you have had, and things you wished you had done together.”  An organizer to the end, he used his time in the hospice to create a namesake fund at the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

Dr. Connie Eaves, a leading stem cell scientist who helped put the Stem Cell Network together, recalled how Mr. Lyall made an indelible impression during his job interview.

Ron Worton (the Network’s founding Scientific Director) briefed me about Drew just before we were to interview him — me by teleconference — for the top position in the admin group. Drew’s intelligence and thoughtfulness, combined with that irresistible enthusiasm for working in the discovery arena with not too many rules, were captivating. We were so lucky he came on board. The world has lost a very special and good person.”

Mr. Lyall’s influence was felt well beyond Canada’s borders. A founder of the International Consortium of Stem Cell Networks, he worked closely with colleagues around the world, urging them to pool their talents in the service of finding cures and saving lives.

“It was his unique leadership style that allowed all of these different countries to come together and share a joint perspective of what was possible,” said Nancy Witty, CEO of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. “There were few people who could bring his special personality to making all of us friends and colleagues that care about one another.”

That style might best be described as disarmingly casual, relaxed bordering on rumpled. He could step up to a conference podium unfazed that his shirttail was untucked and enthrall an audience with an engaging presentation delivered in a butterscotch brogue that had lost none of its flavour since he relocated to Canada from Scotland in late 1992.

“He was unbelievably intelligent, but you didn’t necessarily realize it right away because he was not the pressed, corporate type,” said Shannon Sethuram, who worked closely with Mr. Lyall at the Stem Cell Network for five years and more recently at BioCanRx, another federally funded research network.  “There was something very casual about him that spoke to his confidence in who he was. He was, bar none, the best person I have ever worked with.”

Mr. Lyall was born on Jan. 21, 1966 in Edinburgh. He was the son of David Lyall, a Presbyterian minister, and Margaret Lyall and a brother to Catherine Slatter. He studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford but was an accountant by profession. He relocated to Canada to be closer to Suzanne Loch, an Ottawa school teacher he had met while travelling. They married in 1993 and have two children Heather, 15, and Matthew, 12.

“Drew was just passing through Canada when he met Suzanne on a train, and, being totally and understandably charmed, he decided to extend his stay,” said Patrick Lafferty, a mentor to Drew when he came to work at the Ottawa office of Coopers & Lybrand (which later became Pricewaterhouse Coopers — PwC).  “Our United Kingdom  firm had an enviable model of hiring the best and brightest liberal arts graduates from their leading universities and then teaching them accounting and auditing. Drew would happily accept any challenge as an opportunity, begin thinking it through, come back a few days later, challenge some of the assumptions, and then offer some real insights on how to best pull it off.”

Mr. Lafferty admired Mr. Lyall’s zest for life. “From the beginning, he threw himself into his first baseball game, his first hockey game, every office party, charity fundraising and sporting event,  and of course, into his delightful wedding to Suzanne.”

Though not particularly athletic — he played recreational soccer and took skating lessons — Mr. Lyall was an avid sports fan who faithfully followed long-suffering Hibernian FC of North Edinburgh’s Leith. The “Hibs,” he wrote in his blog, “haven’t won the main Scottish cup for 114 years now.” He knew they were not very good, said close friend Randy McIntyre, “but he was quite proud of them.” In Canada, he quickly adopted American football, travelling to Wisconsin to see his beloved Green Bay Packers play and purchase Cheesehead hats for his children.  Over the Christmas holidays, he was able to leave the hospice for a morning of watching “footie” with friends over a full English breakfast at an Ottawa pub. He tracked the ups and downs of the Ottawa Senators right up to a few days before his death.

Mr. Lyall travelled extensively, visiting more than 80 countries, but left the world regretting that he was never able to visit Machu Picchu, the Incan citadel of Peru’s Andes Mountains. A voracious reader, he Lyall, could speak as knowledgeably about the popular novels of Nick Hornby as he could debate Clayton M. Christensen’s theories on the impact of disruptive technologies on established industries.

With no science training to speak of, he quickly grasped the subtleties of the complex field he championed. A quiet but persuasive force, Mr. Lyall didn’t feel the need to be regarded as the smartest person in the room. “But he often was,” said Dr. Michael Rudnicki, the Stem Cell Network’s Scientific Director and CEO. “True leaders don’t bully their way forward. They prepare the ground. He was a builder who wanted to do great things.”

Dr. Rudnicki believes Mr. Lyall’s professional legacy is the community of stem cell scientists spread across Canada who agreed to work together collaboratively under the Network banner. “The nature of the community reflected who he was and how he dealt with people.”

Dr. Janet Rossant, President and Executive Director of the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine, agreed. “Drew was a true stem cell hero,” she said. “He was the glue that brought the Network together, whether driving the science, advocating on the Hill for a cord blood stem cell bank, or leading the party at the annual Network pub night.”

Those sentiments were echoed by Prof. Tim Caulfield, Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Alberta. “A master at bringing people together, Drew did much to help build Canada’s stem cell community. He always seemed to be at its centre.” And by Dr. Sam Weiss, Director of the University of Calgary’s Hotchkiss Brain Institute: “Drew was a warm and wonderful person to know, have a drink with and to share the achievements of collaboration and friendship.”

Mr. Lyall was one of the key people responsible for getting stem cell researchers to embrace the concept of commercializing their work so that it could be carried forward to clinical therapies. Dr. Michael May, President and CEO of the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine said his organization, spun out of the Network, wouldn’t exist without Mr. Lyall’s contributions.

“Drew played a critical role in having the academic community embrace us, helping facilitate connections with the academic partners,” said Dr. May. “He helped me, personally, make those founding connections within the Canadian community and abroad too. He was very generous with his time, his insights and his network.”

Mr. Lyall also helped develop CellCAN, the Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy Network, created to accelerate progress in cell-based therapies. “Drew and the Stem Cell Network have been a driving force in uniting the centres involved in cell manufacturing and enabling the translation of findings at the bench to patients in need of novel and efficient therapies,” said Dr. Dénis Claude Roy, CellCAN’s CEO. “Drew’s trust and involvement were crucial to generate CellCAN.”

Mr. Lyall, who was also an alumnus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, left the Stem Cell Network in 2013 to become a director general with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. However, he was lured away last year when Dr. John Bell launched BioCanRx to advance anti-cancer biotherapeutics.

“Early on, I approached Drew for some quick tips about how best to put together a network proposal,” said Dr. Bell. “I left with a lot more than advice. Drew instilled in me a vision of what a network could be and the value it could bring to cancer patients. Once we were awarded the grant, I knew I needed a great CEO to make it all it could be. In almost no time, Drew was able to bring together a very experienced and motivated team and get BioCanRx launched, which reflected how much people enjoyed working with him. Every day I worked with my friend Drew was fun — he had an awesome sense of humour — and made me confident that BioCanRx will be a success.”

Prof. Bartha Maria Knoppers, Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy at McGill University, admired Mr. Lyall for “always reaching out beyond borders and disciplines,” and saw him as “a true gentleman whose candour and insight immediately attracted trust and participation.”

Dr. Fabio Rossi, Acting Director of the University of British Columbia’s Biomedical Research Centre, said Mr. Lyall was one of the most charming people he ever worked with. “His infectious optimism and enthusiasm motivated all around him. He truly was the Network’s centre of gravity, and responsible for much of the cohesion that made it a success.”

Dr. Rudnicki, who worked side by side with Mr. Lyall for many years at the Network, said his death marks a tremendous loss not just to his family, friends and colleagues, but for health science. “He had so much more to contribute.”

(Joe Sornberger, Director of Communications Programs for the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, is the author of Dreams & Due Diligence — Till and McCulloch’s Stem Cell Discovery and Legacy. The quotes included here were collected through interviews and email correspondence.)

 

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13
Jan 2016
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Prime Minister Trudeau at today's announcment

Trudeau announces investment in cell manufacturing centre

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Today’s announcement of a new centre for advanced therapeutic cell technologies in Toronto is an investment in health-related technology, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Today’s announcement of a new centre for advanced therapeutic cell technologies in Toronto is an investment in health-related technology, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“The health of Canadians is a priority,” Prime Minister Trudeau said at the announcement. “We believe that supporting this new, world-class facility will have significant benefits for innovative health-related technology in Canada and around the world.

GE Healthcare and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario will invest a combined $40 million in partnership with the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) to build the centre in Toronto’s MARs discovery district, which is operated by a not-for-profit corporation to commercialize publicly funded medical research and other technologies.

According to a news release, the centre will speed the development of cell manufacturing technologies to improve patient access to new therapies.  Scaling up the quantity of stem cells to the vast numbers required for transplantation while ensuring the purity and quality of those cells is vital to moving the regenerative medicine field forward.

James Price, President and CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, attended the Toronto event and said the investment will enhance capacity to implement the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy, the private-public partnership that will deliver up to 10 new curative therapies to the clinic within 10 years.

“It’s key piece to the puzzle,” he said, noting that state of the art cell-manufacturing facilities are operating in Laval, Montreal, and Ottawa and that one will open its doors in Edmonton this summer.  “These kinds of developments boost Canada’s overall ability to produce cells and attract clinical trials so that we can begin delivering new treatments to a number of diseases.”

Michael May, President and CEO of CCRM, added: “We have built a strong industry consortium of nearly 50 companies to help drive a collaborative approach to realizing the potential of regenerative medicine. GE Healthcare already plays a leading role in that consortium and the company’s deep knowledge of the bioprocessing industry, combined with its global scale and health care insights, makes it the ideal anchor partner for the new centre.”

Kieran Murphy, CEO of GE Healthcare’s Life Sciences business, says it is “increasingly clear that cell therapies and regenerative medicine will transform health care globally, but successful industrialization is now crucial to widespread adoption. This new centre will enable us to work with cell therapy companies to push beyond existing technical limits and problem-solve.”

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28
Jul 2015
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Stem cell co-discoverer Dr. James Till at left with Dr. Peter Zandstra (CBC News)

$114-million research investment builds stem cell momentum

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Today’s announcement that the federal government will invest $114 million over seven years in the University of Toronto’s “Medicine by Design” research initiative comes as exciting news to every Canadian excited about the potential of regenerative medicine to save lives.…

Today’s announcement that the federal government will invest $114 million over seven years in the University of Toronto’s “Medicine by Design” research initiative comes as exciting news to every Canadian excited about the potential of regenerative medicine to save lives.

This is a significant momentum-builder for the field,” says James Price, President and CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation. “It is great to see our country developing the assets it needs to make it increasingly possible to implement the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan.”

The Foundation supported the grant application – part of the federal government’s $1.5-billion Canada First Research Excellence Fund for universities and colleges – when the bid was submitted last winter. The Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology) made the announcement in Toronto.

“Stem cells offer avenues to treat – and perhaps cure – devastating and costly illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, blindness, lung disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and diseases of the blood and musculoskeletal system,” Dr. Peter Zandstra, a Medicine by Design leader and member of the Foundation’s Science Leadership Council, says in the Government of Canada’s press release.

The Strategy & Action Plan, developed by a coalition of researchers, medical professionals, health charities, industry leaders and philanthropists, sets the course for Canada to lead the way in delivering up to 10 new curative therapies within 10 years.  The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, both partners in the Medicine by Design initiative, played key roles in developing the Strategy.

Mr. Price calls Medicine by Design an important research-focused step toward building a vibrant regenerative medicine ecosystem that can deliver new therapies to the clinic. “We look forward to working with the University of Toronto on this important project.”

 

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16
Dec 2014
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A wish for all Canadians

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By Stacey Johnson, Director of Communications, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine

There is much joy and celebration in becoming a centenarian.…

CCRM

By Stacey Johnson, Director of Communications, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine

There is much joy and celebration in becoming a centenarian. This March, my grandmother turns 100. If she had one wish, I know it would be for renewed physical vitality. Her mind is strong, but her body is giving out.

Despite huge progress in research, there won’t be a cure for age-related macular degeneration in time for her to benefit, nor will she be able to replace her electronic pacemaker with one made from stem cells, but she’s excited by the promise of stem cell research, even if it won’t impact her directly.

Now is a time for optimism in the regenerative medicine (RM) field, especially in Canada. In October, the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation announced its national Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan and barely a month later, the Province of Ontario awarded $3.1 million to launch the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM).

The regenerative medicine community in Canada is very connected thanks to more than a decade’s worth of targeted encouragement from the federal government – in the form of funding – and efforts by the Canadian Stem Cell Network to break down silos and promote collaboration. With all the key stakeholders working together to develop products and shepherd them through clinical trials to reach patients, the community has research excellence and political will on its side.

The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), a unique not-for-profit group that is solely focused on developing and commercializing RM technologies, was involved with both of the recent announcements. The goal of the Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan is to produce five to 10 therapies within the next 10 years. The OIRM has been established to translate stem cell research into curative therapies for major degenerative diseases. CCRM is the commercialization partner for both groups and is co-leading OIRM with the Ontario Stem Cell Initiative.

With an aging population and Canadian health care costs – direct and indirect – estimated at $190 billion annually, finding treatments and cures is imperative. The Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, OIRM and CCRM will coordinate efforts to move promising stem cell treatments from the bench to the bedside.

My grandmother is unlikely to see cures in her lifetime, but success is feeling closer every day. And that’s something worth celebrating.

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08
Sep 2014
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Chris Hadfield talks science funding on CBC

Serendipity versus eye-on-the-prize science

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“It’s not about basic science versus commercialization. The two need to work together.”

So says Michael May, CEO of the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine on Friday’s edition of CBC Radio Program The Current.…

“It’s not about basic science versus commercialization. The two need to work together.”

So says Michael May, CEO of the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine on Friday’s edition of CBC Radio Program The Current. Guest host Chris Hadfield featured a segment on whether the federal government’s emphasis on applied science is a detriment to basic research.

Also featured in the broadcast is an interview with Dr.  Peter Zandstra who explains the fascinating bio-engineering work he is doing to scale up stem cells for use in drug testing. The University of Toronto’s Dr. Zandstra is a member of the Foundation’s Science Leadership Council.

It’s a lively, discussion of the arguments for and against emphasizing  practical, eye-on-the-prize research over  serendipitous discovery. The podcast is available here. Just scroll down to the item titled “Some academics worry if Canada’s commitment to funding commercial research over basic science will backfire.”

 

 

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