regenerative medicine

15
Feb 2017
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Strategic Forum on cell therapies asks, ‘Where do we go from here?’

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What will it take to move regenerative medicine forward so that it can deliver more cures and treatments for age-old diseases?…

What will it take to move regenerative medicine forward so that it can deliver more cures and treatments for age-old diseases?

That’s the subject of the First PanCanadian Strategic Forum on Cell and Gene Therapy to be held March 9 and 10 at the Westin Montreal.

“The cell and gene therapy ecosystem in Canada is coming to a level of maturity where we’re going to be ready to reap the fruit from it,” says Dr. Anne-Marie Alarco, former Chief Scientific Officer of CellCAN — Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy Network.  “But it’s not going to happen passively. We have to put action in place.”

CellCAN is organizing the Forum in partnership with the Centre for Commercialization of Cancer Immunotherapy (C3i) and BioCanRx.

There is a sense of urgency to begin harvesting the “low hanging fruit,” says Dr. Alarco.  Otherwise, she says, Canada could miss out.

Unlike the annual Till & McCulloch Meetings, which focus on the most recent scientific advances in cell therapies and regenerative medicine, the Strategic Forum will concentrate on what’s needed to move therapies into the clinic. Organizers expect to draw a range of academics, scientists, health agency representatives, government regulators, venture capitalists and business leaders from pharma and biotech.

“The idea is to bring together all the major stakeholders,” says Dr. Alarco, “to determine where we are in terms of cell therapies and gene therapies. We have all the elements for what we hope will be an interactive conversation.  Hopefully, we will come up with a number action items.”

Lectures and workshops will consider ways to overcome barriers to implementing cell and gene therapies in Canada; build on effective commercialization for the benefit of all Canadians; and identify reimbursement possibilities for developing novel therapies..

Keynote speaker Dr Janet Rossant, President & Scientific Director of the Gairdner Foundation and Chair of the steering committee of the Council of Canadian Academies Workshop on Regenerative Medicine. Their soon-to-be-released report was commissioned by the federal government.

As well, speakers from the United Kingdom, Japan and California will discuss steps taken in their jurisdictions to move the science from the researchers’ laboratories to the patients’ bedsides.

“It is the medicine of the future,” says Dr. Alarco. “We hope to have action items in for this to become a reality for Canadians.”

 

 

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28
Sep 2016
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Government asks academic council to report on state of regenerative medicine

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Two Federal Government departments — Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and Health Canada — have asked the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) to study and report back on the state of regenerative medicine in Canada.…

Two Federal Government departments — Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and Health Canada — have asked the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) to study and report back on the state of regenerative medicine in Canada.

“We are very pleased to receive this request from the Government,” says Dr. Eric M. Meslin, President and CEO of the CCA, in a media release. “Canada is a global leader in regenerative medicine and we look forward to contributing to the evidence base for making decisions about how this country can continue to excel in this incredibly important field of medicine.”

The council will conduct an “expert panel workshop” to address two key questions:

  • What are Canada’s strengths in regenerative medicine (and why are they strengths)?
  • What are the opportunities that exist and barriers that must be overcome for Canada to ensure that it can excel in regenerative medicine in the international arena?

“This is good news for advancing stem cell R&D,” says James Price President & CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, adding that the move shows that regenerative medicine is a priority for the Government.

“As the champion of the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy, which would see more stem cell research leap the hurdle to clinical trials and new treatments, we applaud the Government for commissioning the workshop. We look forward to helping the CCA in any way possible.”

The CCA, a not-for-profit organization that undertakes independent, authoritative, evidence-based assessments to inform public policy, is assembling a multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral, group of experts to participate in the two-day workshop expected to take place in the coming weeks. The results will be published in early 2017.

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04
Nov 2015
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Montreal event aims to separate stem cell myths from realities

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When it comes to stem cells and regenerative medicine, how can you tell the difference between fiction and reality?

Remarkable advances in stem cell research have led to sensational claims — especially from private clinics offering miraculous cures for a myriad of diseases. …

When it comes to stem cells and regenerative medicine, how can you tell the difference between fiction and reality?

Remarkable advances in stem cell research have led to sensational claims — especially from private clinics offering miraculous cures for a myriad of diseases.  But what’s the real story?

Our colleagues at CellCAN Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy Network hope to clear the air this week with an Information Day on Cell Therapy. The Thursday, Nov. 5th session at Montreal’s La Grande Place, complexe Desjardins – 150, Ste-Catherine West, runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a panel discussion at noon.

CellCAN has developed an app for event participants to view to our Foundation’s Toward Treatments summaries of the state of stem cell research into 19 diseases.  You can find them here.

Organizers say the goal of the day is to distinguish “myths from the realities, and embrace the true potential of stem cells” so that “more Canadians benefit from this revolutionary medicine.”

 

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13
May 2015
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ARM Q1 report

The state of regenerative medicine industry: ARM report

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The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM), a global advocacy organization active since 2009, has recently published the ARM Quarterly Data Report on the state of regenerative medicine industry.…

The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM), a global advocacy organization active since 2009, has recently published the ARM Quarterly Data Report on the state of regenerative medicine industry.

The report includes analysis of trends and metrics provided by 580 therapeutic companies worldwide. More than 300 of these companies are located in North America.

“This sector has come off a strong year in 2014 and 2015 is off to an even stronger start. As 2015 continues to unfold, we anticipate more high-value deals, and increased investor and public interest in what advanced therapies can offer.” Patricia Reilly and Nancy Dvorin from Informa Business Intelligence, Pharma and Healthcare, ARM’S data partner, wrote in the report.

Higher investments in advanced therapies are in fact among the major trends of the first quarter of 2015. Currently, 486 clinical trials (phase I, II or III) are underway. More than 1/3 of current clinical trials are in oncology, and more than 1/10 are in the cardiovascular area.

Source: Alliance for Regenerative Medicine

Current Clinical Trials by Therapeutic Category. Source: ARM Quarterly Data Report

Additional ARM reports, released at the end of each quarter of the year, will include updates to the current information. To view and download the Q1 Report click here.

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10
Nov 2014
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Carlo Fidani,

Carlo Fidani,

It makes economic sense

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Why the CEO of Orlando Corp. believes we need a Canadian Stem Cell Strategy

Supporting health research comes naturally to Carlo Fidani.…

Why the CEO of Orlando Corp. believes we need a Canadian Stem Cell Strategy

Supporting health research comes naturally to Carlo Fidani. It’s in his blood.

“My grandfather was a benevolent man” says Mr. Fidani, Chair and CEO of the Orlando Corporation, one of the oldest and most successful construction and real estate development companies in Canada. “Even in the Depression, when we he didn’t have much, he found ways to help people.”

His father, Orey Fidani, inherited the generosity gene and “felt that investing in health care was something he could do to help the most people.” He passed the character trait along to Carlo, who has taken things to new heights.  In 2011, responding to the shortage of doctors in Ontario, Mr. Fidani contributed $10 million toward the University of Toronto’s Terrence Donnelly Health Sciences Complex to train more students to become MDs. He has also made major donations to advance cancer and mental health research and treatment.

He supports the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan, “because the promise of stem cells is massive.” The man whose company controls more than 40 million square feet of commercial real estate in the Greater Toronto Area sees beyond potential stem cell cures and treatments. He sees the science yielding significant economic dividends.

“The medical aspect of the stem cell is only a part of it. It’s also the economics. If we can reverse the damage of a heart attack, or help someone out who has Parkinson’s or repair a spine, can you imagine what that would do to for the financial model of our health care system?”

Noting that Canada “has always been at the epicentre of stem cell science,” he sees stem cell R&D boosting our economy by creating high-quality jobs. “It’s important from the economics perspective that we continue to find drivers of employment for highly talented people. If we want to consider ourselves a knowledge-based society, this to me is a perfect landing pad for future opportunities.”

To make it all work, though, will mean bringing together the stem cell scientists, the federal and provincial governments and Canadian industry – all pooling their resources and expertise to create and implement the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy.

“It’s no different than running a business. If we have a national strategy we’re going to be far more productive.  Right now the stem cell community is not getting the financial support it needs. In Canada, we can do more with a dollar than virtually any other country in the world.  My sense is that’s why the Strategy is so critical. If we have the ability to do that – if we have the support –  we can produce some particularly spectacular results.”

 

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11
Sep 2014
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UK researchers post ‘encouraging’ results in stroke study

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The sample size is far too small to prove much yet, but doctors in Britain have seen “very encouraging” results from a new therapy that delivers stem cells extracted from patients’ bone marrow to their brains within days of having suffered a stroke.…

The sample size is far too small to prove much yet, but doctors in Britain have seen “very encouraging” results from a new therapy that delivers stem cells extracted from patients’ bone marrow to their brains within days of having suffered a stroke.

According to a report published in August in Stem Cells Translational Medicine,  all five patients who took part in the pilot study showed improvements over a six-month follow-up period.

This is significant because all but one of the five had the most severe type of stroke from which only four per cent of patients usually recover and regain independence. A story carried in the Daily Mail reported that  all four of these severe-stroke patients were alive and three were independent after half a year.

In the trial, believed to be the of its kind, the patients received purified CD34+ cells,  which are stem cells found in the bone marrow.  The patients got the these cells within a week of their attacks (in previous studies stem cells were infused months afterwards) to release  chemicals to spur  growth of new tissue and blood vessels in the parts of the brain damaged by stroke.

Dr Soma Banerjee, a lead author and Consultant in Stroke Medicine at London’s Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, urged caution:  “This study showed that the treatment appears to be safe and that it’s feasible to treat patients early when they might be more likely to benefit. The improvements we saw in these patients are very encouraging, but it’s too early to draw definitive conclusions … We need to do more tests to work out the best dose and timescale for treatment before starting larger trials.”

Should the therapy prove effective in larger scale clinical trials, the implications are enormous. Stroke is a major killer and disabler.  According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, there are 50,000 strokes in Canada each year — a rate of one every 10 minutes.

The University of Toronto’s Dr. Cindi Morshead, whose research explores using stem cell s in regenerative medicine, called the study “quite comprehensive.”  She pointed out that the researchers screened more than 80 potential candidates for the study before selecting the five who got the treatment. “It was a safety trial so they really had to be careful in their selection.  But five out of 80 people able to benefit from this, that’s still pretty good. ”

As someone who works in the field, she’s optimist about the results. “My takeaway is that it’s exciting. Two of the people in the study were quite young: 45 and 47. It’s hugely significant — they’ve only lived half their lives.”

For a comprehensive look at using stem cells to treat stroke, click here.

 

 

 

 

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12
May 2014
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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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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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