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4/10/2013

Ministry of Research and Innovation Supports Research to Advance Personalized Health in Ontario

The CHEO Research Institute congratulates Drs. David Mack, Kym Boycott and Alex MacKenzie, as below - reprinted with permission by the Ontario Genomics Institute.
 

Government Supporting Groundbreaking Genomics Research
Advancing Personalized Health in Ontario

Ontario is improving the lives and wellbeing of everyday Ontarians with investments in research that will enable a more personalized approach to diagnosing and treating illnesses. The province’s funding will support genomics research projects that will:

* Help doctors more easily diagnose and treat children suffering from inflammatory bowel disease. Doctors Alain Stintzi, David Mack and their team are developing a simple, cost-effective and non-invasive approach to detecting the disease in children. This work could also lead to new treatments, enhancing the quality of life for children living with inflammatory bowel disease everywhere.
* Improve the way doctors identify and treat rare genetic diseases. Doctors Kym Boycott, Alex MacKenzie and their team will use powerful new gene sequencing to develop earlier and better diagnoses, and more effective treatments for many of these rare diseases caused by gene mutations.
* Provide more effective treatment for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders through earlier diagnosis. Currently, only 20 per cent of cases can be tied to a genetic cause. Doctors Stephen Scherer and Peter Szatmari aim to identify the remaining genetic risk factors associated with this illness.
* Save more lives with earlier detection of esophageal cancer – with funding being provided via the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Chronic heartburn can damage the lining of the esophagus, leading to a condition known as "Barrett’s esophagus." Doctors Lincoln Stein and Tony Godfrey aim to supplement a new test that can allow for rapid and cost-effective early detection and diagnosis of the condition in a doctor's office.

Investing in genomics research supports the government’s efforts to improve health care for people of Ontario. This is part of the Ontario government's economic plan to invest in people, invest in infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.
 
Quotes

"Personalized health is an important frontier for research and the future of health care. It will undoubtedly have a significant impact on how we treat disease, bringing tremendous benefits to Ontarians, their families and our health care system."
— Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation

"These personalized health projects have enormous potential to improve the lives of people facing serious illnesses in Canada and beyond. Advances in personalized health are a direct result of support for groundbreaking research. "
— Mark Poznansky, President and CEO, Ontario Genomics Institute

"I am proud of the tremendous research talent we have in Ottawa and proud that our government is helping our world class researchers to make discoveries that will better lives in our community, our province and around the world."
— John Fraser, MPP Ottawa South
 
Quick Facts
 
* Personalized health uses a patient’s own genetic and personal information to customize treatment for the individual. Today’s funding brings Ontario’s support to a total of 12 projects funded since 2011, covering a variety of conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, brain disease and cancer.
* Ontario is supporting the new projects in conjunction with the Ontario Genomics Institute.
* Ontario funding supports personalized medicine research through the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Ontario Brain Institute, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and at universities and research hospitals.
* With half of the country’s life sciences economic activity taking place in Ontario, the province is the largest life sciences hub in Canada.
 
For more information, contact:
Sarah McMaster, Minister’s Office, 416-326-9492
Sofia Sousa-Dias, Communications Branch, 416-326-8465
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