ghp July 2015 pdf

ghp July 2015 | 29 research The money will support scientific research and commercialization within the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM), which operates across the province with four primary institutions: University of Toronto; McMaster University in Hamilton; Western University in London, Ontario and the University of Ot- tawa in Ottawa. The Institute was formally announced in November 2014. The primary focus of the research is the use of stem cells in regenerative medicine. The grants will be particularly vital to ensuring that Ontario is a leader in the development and commercialization of stem cell products and therapies, with a combined goal to take science into the clinic and to further enhance an associated regenerative medicine industry. The Centre for Commercialisation of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), the institute’s commercialisa- tion partner, will use a proportion of the funding to strengthen their partnerships with industries world- wide who are interested in exploring the potential for stem cells as therapeutics and as a means of testing drugs. CCRM will continue to enhance their industry-facing platforms which help attract more of the regenerative medicine industry into Ontario to work with the institute as well as bringing clinical trials to Ontario. The money will also provide catalyst funds for disease teams, with a focus on projects that will provide real breakthroughs in regenerative medicine. Dr Janet Rossant, the Executive Director of the OIRM believes that cardiac, diabetes, vision and arthritis will all be key areas of research over the coming years. Breakthroughs are key to the future of the research, therefore the institute will also use some of the govern- mental investment to provide small new ideas grant which enable researchers to bring new and innovative ideas to the table. The projects will be thoroughly scrutinised by Canadian and international academic and industry experts, with the successful research teams needing to demonstrate progress annually in order to receive continued funding. Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation, made it clear that the funding was a key investment for the government, with the quality of the research and the institute’s leadership in the field enabling prosperity in other areas. “Our capacity to compete globally depends on how well we can harness our research, innovation and entrepreneurial strengths. Through these investments, Ontario is mobilizing and preparing our researchers to succeed, compete and create the jobs of the future.” Stem cell research and regenerative medicine is a very fast-moving area, because the potential of stem cells to provide a renewable resource of cells to treat many kinds of diseases. A key example of this is the institute’s research into the use of stem cells to repair heart, with several groups currently looking at the ability to take stem cells and use them to actually repair damaged hearts. Current and planned trials in Ontario use a variety of types of stem cells to treat patients who have had a heart attack to see if they could prevent the of damage that traditionally occurs after such an illness. The future goal is not just to prevent the damage but to repair the damage, with the institute keen to move forward with the generation of new heart cells from stem cells. Many different types of stem cells have the capacity for self-renewal and repair, so the OIRM encourag- es their disease teams to explore stem cell based treatments in many innovative ways with the goal of providing breakthrough treatments in areas of unmet medical need. Translational research is a key aspect of the institute’s approach to innovation, with a focus on moving cell therapies towards clinical trials, with commerciali- zation of discoveries and tools generating economic opportunities and enhancing clinical activities Partnerships also play vital roles in accumulating fur- ther funding for the research, with the institute using discoveries and new ideas garnered via their studies to partner with health charities that offer funding in the area linked with these discoveries, as well as with various institutions, philanthropy and other agencies, which provide focused project based funds. Overall, the funding ensures the continuation of vital and extraordinary research with implications for all aspects of healthcare. The work conducted by the institute impacts on all sectors of the global healthcare industry, from pharmaceuticals through to healthcare providers. Dr Rossant added a final comment on the impact of the funding. “We are very pleased by the support of the govern- ment of Ontario for the Ontario Institute for Regener- ative Medicine. It recognises that this is a fundamen- tally important and exciting area of research with huge clinical and commercial impact. It also recognises that Ontario and Canada have always been leaders in stem cell research and that we are poised to continue to keep that leadership role. At the same time we are also open and excited about partnering internationally to achieve the goal of treating and curing disease with new regenerative medicine therapies .”