Stem Cell Research

15
Sep 2015
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Take the 2-minute test for Type 2 diabetes

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Are you at risk of having pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes?

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can’t properly process insulin (called insulin insensitivity) or does not make enough insulin so that sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used as energy.…

Are you at risk of having pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes?

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can’t properly process insulin (called insulin insensitivity) or does not make enough insulin so that sugar builds up in the blood instead of being used as energy. About 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2. It is more typical in adults, but children can be affected too.

The CDA has developed an online quiz for Canadians to see if they are at risk. Currently more than 9 million people in this country either have the disease or are in pre-diabetes. You can find out in just two minutes.  Click here to take the test.

Canada is a global leader in diabetes research. Almost 100 years ago, Frederick Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin and gave diabetics around the world the chance to live full lives. Now, Canadian stem cell researchers are working on ways to make those daily insulin injections a thing of the past via stem cell transplants.  The Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan will help make it happen.  Click here to tell your federal candidates that you support the Action Plan — and that they should, too.

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08
Sep 2015
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T&M Meetings bring together top minds in stem cell field

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Our Foundation is proud to be a major sponsor of the Till & McCulloch Meetings, Canada’s premier stem cell research event.…

Our Foundation is proud to be a major sponsor of the Till & McCulloch Meetings, Canada’s premier stem cell research event.

Named after Drs. James Till and Ernest McCulloch, the conference brings together Canada’s leading stem cell scientists, clinicians, bioengineers and ethicists, as well as representatives from industry, government, health and NGO sectors from around the world. The 2015 Till & McCulloch Meetings will take place in Toronto from October 26-28, 2015 at the Sheraton Centre Hotel.

For more information about the conference or to register click here.

This year’s session will feature several scientists whose innovative research has been highlighted in this space, including Drs. Jeff Biernaskie, Connie Eaves, Tim Kieffer and Ivar Mendez. As well, Foundation President & CEO James Price and Board Chair Dr. Alan Bernstein will update delegates on the progress being made to secure support for implementing the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan. To show your support for the Strategy, click here.

 

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24
Aug 2015
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3 reasons why we need the Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan

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Why does Canada need a coast-to-coast-to-coast stem cell effort?

Three big reasons, says James Price, President & CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, in today’s edition of iPolitics.

Why does Canada need a coast-to-coast-to-coast stem cell effort?

Three big reasons, says James Price, President & CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, in today’s edition of iPolitics.

“To maintain our position as a global leader in the field that we discovered and pioneered, to help thousands of Canadians and their loved ones who are struggling with life-threatening conditions, and to transform the stem cell sector into a thriving industry built on high-quality jobs that support families across the country, we need a truly national stem cell effort.

Mr. Price makes the point that with the election campaign now fully underway, it’s time for our politicians to commit to supporting the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan, which will see Canada lead the way in delivering up to 10 new therapies to the clinic within 10 years.

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10
Aug 2015
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Dr. Andy Becker

Andy Becker: stem cell pioneer and ‘amazing’ researcher

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Dr. Andy Becker, one of the true pioneers of stem cell science, has died in Toronto at age 80.

Dr.…

Dr. Andy Becker, one of the true pioneers of stem cell science, has died in Toronto at age 80.

Dr. Becker was the lead author of the 1963 paper, published in Nature, that definitively demonstrated the existence of stem cells. Using chromosomal markers, he retraced their steps after they had generated the three types of precursor cells needed to make blood.

“It was a key contribution to our early experimental investigations of stem cells,”Dr. Jim Till, who was Dr. Becker’s PhD  advisor at the time, wrote via email. “His combination of talent and persistence was what was needed to complete this challenging and innovative research. I’m still amazed at what he accomplished. I doubt if anyone else, at that time, could have succeeded in the way that Andy did.”

Dr. Becker worked closely with Drs. Ernest McCulloch and Till who, in 1961, had successfully shown that single cells drawn from bone marrow could produce colony-forming units containing the precursor cells required to make white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. That paper laid the foundation for stem cell science.

A third Till & McCulloch paper — also published in 1963 but with Dr. Lou Siminovitch as lead author –proved that stem cells not only differentiate into new cells but also have the capacity to self-renew in order to keep the process going throughout our lifetimes. Combined, the three papers essentially defined stem cells and set the stage for regenerative medicine.

Dr. Becker’s paper proved just how tenacious a researcher he  could be. The chromosomal marker method was nothing if not painstakingly frustrating, given the rudimentary technology available at the time. In the University of Toronto Press book Dreams & Due Diligence, Dr. Becker’s wife, Prof. Clelia Ganoza, explains that he had a “killer instinct” for research, which meant that “the goal is the important issue and the obstacles to overcome are just needed lessons towards this end.”

As the Toronto Star obituary explains, Dr. Becker, who was also a medical doctor, not only did seminal work with stem cells but contributed greatly to the development of recombinant DNA technology.

Here at the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, our hearts go out to Dr. Becker’s family, especially Prof. Ganoza, his wife of 47 years.

 

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03
Jun 2015
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James Price, President & CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, left, Sandra Henderson, Senior V-P of BMO Financial Group’s Eastern Ontario Division, and Tim Kluke, President & CEO of the Ottawa Hospital Foundation Credit: Erin McCracken, Ottawa South News

Investing in the future: BMO makes $1-million donation

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BMO’s  $1-million donation to support stem cell and regenerative medicine research in Canada is “an investment in the future,” says a senior executive with the leading financial institution.…

BMO’s  $1-million donation to support stem cell and regenerative medicine research in Canada is “an investment in the future,” says a senior executive with the leading financial institution.

“As the generations go on, it’s important for us to give back to the people we work with, we live with, who are in our communities,” Sandra Henderson, Senior Vice-President of BMO Financial Group’s Eastern Ontario Division, told Ottawa Community News.

The investment includes a $500,000 donation to the Ottawa Hospital’s Regenerative Medicine Program at the General campus’ Sinclair Centre, and $500,000 to the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, of which $250,000 will go to the hospital’s new research initiatives and $250,000 to other national activities.

“By Canadian standards, that’s probably one of the largest corporate gifts specifically directed to stem cell research and regenerative medicine in the country,” James Price, Foundation’s President & CEO, told Ottawa Community News. “Canada is a leader in stem cell research, just as the Ottawa Hospital is.”

Currently, the Ottawa Hospital’s Regenerative Medicine Program has 250 scientists, research staff and trainees working at the Sinclair Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research.

The lab of Dr. Duncan Stewart, Executive Vice-President of Research at the Ottawa Hospital and Senior Scientist of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute’s Regenerative Medicine Program, has been renamed the BMO Financial Group Laboratory in honour of the bank’s financial contribution.

 

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25
Mar 2015
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Dr. Janet Rossant

Congratulations to Janet Rossant — Gairdner Wightman winner

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Today we are delighted to congratulate Dr. Janet Rossant on the announcement of her winning the 2015 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science in Canada.

Today we are delighted to congratulate Dr. Janet Rossant on the announcement of her winning the 2015 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science in Canada.

“Janet Rossant is not only an internationally acclaimed stem cell scientist, she has been a powerful force in moving the field forward and a leader in developing the roadmap for the future of our sector: the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy and Action Plan,” said James Price, President & CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation. “She has played a key role in ensuring that Canada stands among the top nations in the world in one of the most exciting and promising areas of medical research — stem cells.”

Dr. Rossant, who chairs the CSCF’s Science Leadership Council, was a member of the Foundation-led Joint Strategy Working Group that developed the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan. Based on a private/public partnership, it sets out how Canada can lead the way to deliver five to 10 new stem cell therapies to the clinic within 10 years.

“Her efforts have been invaluable,” said Mr. Price, who co-authored a Globe & Mail opinion piece with Dr. Rossant in February that illustrated how the Strategy could position Canada as an international centre for conducting safe, high-quality clinical trials for new stem cell treatments. “No one knows the field — and the remarkable things it can do — better than Janet. We are deeply proud of her accomplishments, and are thrilled for her success and the recognition she has received today.”

In a Foundation-produced video, Dr. Rossant declares that, “Research can’t stand still. Scientific research is always moving forward. We are at an incredibly exciting time in science when we can understand the underpinnings of disease and begin to translate that into new diagnoses and therapies.”

Quick Facts

  • The Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan calls for a $1.5-billion public-private investment over 10 years, including a $50-million scaled annual average commitment by the Government of Canada.
  • The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine estimates the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan could generate more than 12,000 jobs for Canadians via the growth of existing companies and the development of new enterprises that reach global markets.
  • In 2013, more than $200 billion was spent on health care in Canada. Two thirds of that money was used to treat incurable diseases. Stem cell research, cell therapy and regenerative medicine are working towards treatment options for these diseases.
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05
Dec 2014
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Cancer Stem Cell Research Dream Team: A Call for Ideas

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The best and the brightest are teaming up against cancer.

In October, Stand Up To Cancer Canada (SU2C Canada), with support from the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium (CSCC), Genome Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), announced a $10.6 million SU2C Canada Cancer Stem Cell Dream Team Research funding opportunity.…

The best and the brightest are teaming up against cancer.

In October, Stand Up To Cancer Canada (SU2C Canada), with support from the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium (CSCC), Genome Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), announced a $10.6 million SU2C Canada Cancer Stem Cell Dream Team Research funding opportunity.

SU2C Canada is an innovative funding initiative created in July 2014 to accelerate advances in cancer research. Sharing a common mission with the U.S.- based Stand Up to Cancer, active since 2008, SU2C Canada provides grants to multidisciplinary groups of scientists, called Dream Teams, who work collaboratively to develop treatments for cancer patients.

The American Association for Cancer Research International – Canada (AACR International – Canada), the Scientific Partner of SU2C Canada, issued a Call for Ideas inviting the Canadian research community to assemble into a Cancer Stem Cell Dream Team. Scientists from across the country are invited to submit  a Letter of Intent by December 8th.. Complete proposals must be sent by April 27th, 2015. Please click here for information on eligibility and submission requirements.

The qualifying Dream Team will receive approximately $10.6 million over a four-year term from CSCC, through Genome Canada and CIHR. Additional funds up to $3 million over four years from Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) will be available for clinical trials conducted in Ontario.

The research proposals will be reviewed oby the SU2C Canada Scientific Advisory Committee (CSAC), co-chaired by Nobel Laureate Dr. Phillip A. Sharp, Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Dr. Alan Bernstein, President & CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation.

“Dr. Sharp and I are very pleased to launch this collaborative approach to cancer research with an emphasis on working across disciplines and institutional lines to deliver new treatments in an accelerated timeframe,” says Dr. Bernstein in the SU2C Canada press release. “We look forward to reviewing extraordinary approaches to cancer research assembled by the best and brightest minds, and to selecting the best possible science that Canada has to offer.”

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10
Nov 2014
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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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28
Oct 2014
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Cured patient and Canadian stem cell leaders to make major announcement

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On Wednesday morning, a young woman cured by a stem cell treatment will join with a coalition representing Canadian stem cell researchers, medical professionals, business leaders and health charities for a press conference on Parliament Hill for a major announcement on Parliament Hill about the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan.  …

On Wednesday morning, a young woman cured by a stem cell treatment will join with a coalition representing Canadian stem cell researchers, medical professionals, business leaders and health charities for a press conference on Parliament Hill for a major announcement on Parliament Hill about the Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan.  Please revisit this space tomorrow for details.

 

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08
Oct 2014
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International Stem Cell Awareness Day 2014

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Today marks the Seventh International Stem Cell Awareness Day, an international celebration inaugurated by California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. Scientists and organizations across the globe have an opportunity to raise public awareness of the current state of stem cell research and to share their hopes for the future advances in the field.…

Today marks the Seventh International Stem Cell Awareness Day, an international celebration inaugurated by California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. Scientists and organizations across the globe have an opportunity to raise public awareness of the current state of stem cell research and to share their hopes for the future advances in the field.

The discovery of stem cells in 1961 by Canada’s Dr. James Till and Dr. Ernest McCulloch represented a revolution in the field of health care. Stem cells have the potential to cure diseases, regenerate organs, prevent heart attacks, defeat diabetes and more. Significant progress in research has been made since then: stem cells have been used to treat leukemia, multiple myeloma and other blood cancers. However, much work lies ahead, as most clinical trials are still in their early stages.

Several international events will be taking place today and in the days to come. Click here to find out more.

Ben Paylor, a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia and the producer of StemCellShorts will be presenting a webinar entitled “The Science of Regenarative Medicine” at 12 pm ET. Click here for details.

And if you want to discover more about stem cells, check some of our resources:

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