Canada’s Stem Cell Network Makes Its Single Largest Investment In Regenerative Medicine Research

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Canada’s Stem Cell Network (SCN) announced today $19.5 million for 32 stem cell and regenerative medicine research projects and clinical trials. This investment is SCN’s largest funding injection into the sector in its 20-year history, made possible through increased funding by the Government of Canada in 2021. With in-kind and cash support from 34 partner organizations valued at $22.4 million, this investment allows Canada’s regenerative medicine research community to harness a total of $42 million for research activities and clinical trials over the next three years.

Stem cells have traditionally fuelled the field of regenerative medicine (RM) which is focused on regrowing, repairing or replacing damaged or diseased cells, organs and tissues. Stem cell therapies have been used to treat blood cancers such as leukemia for many years, but they hold extraordinary promise to one day treat rare and chronic disease and life-altering illnesses such as type 1 diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. As the science rapidly advances so too are the techniques, approaches and tools that can be used to drive RM forward.

The projects and clinical trials announced today by SCN will take place across the country and involve over 400 researchers, clinicians, and trainees. Fifty-nine percent of the projects will be led by women, with 12 projects led by early career investigators. In total, the projects cover 20 different disease areas and illnesses such as, stroke, cardiovascular disease, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy, blood cancers, multiple sclerosis, wound repair and sepsis.

The largest of the projects funded by SCN today are part of a new multi-year program, the Horizon awards. Valued at $3 million per award, they are the largest award SCN has offered in the past decade and focus on conducting innovative research and developing transformative technology solutions for tackling regenerative medicine challenges that will result in both health and economic benefits in the coming decade. Horizon awards also aim to seed research and build made-in-Canada intellectual property that will yield translational or commercialization activity. Three multi-disciplinary national teams have been granted Horizon awards to conduct research focused on next-generation therapies for treating blood cancers, advancing cardiac regeneration, and scaling up and biomanufacturing personalized therapies for type 1 diabetes.

To learn more about SCN’s funding programs and specific projects to be supported visit: https://stemcellnetwork.ca/research/research-competition-results/

To learn more about SCN’s three Horizon awards visit: https://stemcellnetwork.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/2022-05-11-Horizon-Awards-Feature-Article-May-2022-FINAL.pdf

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