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26/3/2013

Harper Government Announces New Personalized Health Research Projects Across Canada

Ottawa, March 26, 2013—Canadians with debilitating diseases will soon benefit from new personalized approaches to treatment thanks to researchers across the country and funding from the Harper Government. Joy Smith, Member of Parliament for Kildonan–St. Paul, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced an investment of $13.7 million to support four research projects in Ontario, as part of the national announcement made by the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), alongside Mike Lake, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry. The announcement was made during a visit to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa to learn more about a project, under Dr. Kym Boycott’s leadership, that will use new technologies to identify the genes implicated in many rare disorders and test treatment against the identified genes.

“Our government recognizes that genomics is a science at the core of the global bio-economy and offers a myriad of social and economic benefits,” said Mrs. Smith. “Through our investments in applied genomics research, we are fostering Canada’s innovative capability, while creating jobs and supporting long-term economic growth. These projects have the potential to transform the way health care is delivered in Canada, including improvements in clinical practice, better treatment and outcomes for patients and a more efficient, cost-effective health care system.”

The projects are part of a major $150 million genomics and personalized health competition, a Genome Canada—Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) partnership.

Seventeen projects in total have been approved for funding, each valued in the range of $3 million to $13 million. The projects will focus on the application of genomics to tailor patient treatments and therapies in fields as diverse as epilepsy, autism, HIV/AIDS, cancer, cardiovascular disease, rare neurological diseases, and stroke, among others. The projects will be spearheaded by some of Canada's top researchers and leading teams at academic institutions across Ontario. The research projects will examine:

· Enhanced CARE for RARE genetic diseases in Canada (Kym Boycott and Alex MacKenzie, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and University of Ottawa)
· Autism spectrum disorders: Genomes to outcomes (Stephen Scherer, The Hospital for Sick Children)
· Early detection of patients at high risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma (Lincoln Stein, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research)
· The microbiota at the intestinal mucosa-immune interface: A gateway for personalized health (David Mack and Alain Stintzi, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and University of Ottawa)

In light of this competition, the Harper Government has invested approximately $45 million through Genome Canada, $24 million through CIHR and $2 million from the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium. The balance of funding is secured by regional Genome Centres from provincial governments, health charities, the private sector and other partners.

“What's exciting about these projects is that each one holds enormous potential for breakthroughs where there is a serious clinical need. Personalized health is about tailoring treatment and medicines to the individual patient based on their unique genetic makeup and this is only possible through advances in genomics research, ” said Dr. Pierre Meulien, President and CEO of Genome Canada.

“Our partnership with Genome Canada and the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium is providing us with the ability to invest in a fashion that will impact many areas of health such as infection, cancer and rare diseases,” said Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of CIHR. The projects announced today have the potential of allowing physicians to make better informed decisions and of providing patients with the best treatments and diagnoses possible.”

To build on Genome Canada’s achievements to date, Economic Action Plan 2013 proposes to provide $165 million in 2014–15 to support Genome Canada’s multi-year strategic plan.

Since 2006, the Harper Government has provided more than $9 billion in new funding for initiatives to support science, technology and the growth of innovative firms, helping to foster a world-class research and innovation system. Economic Action Plan 2013 is proposing to build on this strong foundation, helping to position Canada for sustainable, long-term economic prosperity and a higher quality of life for Canadians.

A complete list of the successful projects is available on Genome Canada’s website at www.genomecanada.ca.

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For further information (media only), please contact:

Michèle-Jamali Paquette
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
Minister of State (Science and Technology)
613-947-2956

Media Relations
Industry Canada
613-943-2502

Cailin Rodgers
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Andrea Matyas
Communications Specialist
Genome Canada
613-790-0106

Media Relations
CIHR
613-941-4563
 
CHEO Research Institute
Adrienne Vienneau
613-513-8437
 
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