A significant new investment will allow researchers to investigate the trillions of microorganisms that reside in or on the human body and the role they play in health and disease as well as develop new detection methods and treatment options for several chronic diseases.
The announcement was made at the Ontario Science Center by representatives from the Government of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Genome British Columbia, Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CCFF) and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC).
"Our government is committed to improving the health of Canadians affected by significant digestive and immunity based diseases, and being a world leader in supporting research excellence," said the Honorable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. "Today's strategic investment will lead to new treatments and effective health care programs for Canadians."
"Genome British Columbia is pleased to be partnering with CIHR on this important initiative and to be able to support two leading BC scientists and their teams in areas of research that will have a significant impact on the health of many of Canadians," says Dr. Alan Winter, President and CEO of Genome British Columbia. "This work will build upon existing technologies and capacity developed over recent years through Genome BC, Genome Canada and CIHR funding and has excellent potential for positive results in the fields of immunological disorders and female reproductive health."
Lois Brown, Member of Parliament for Newmarket-Aurora announced, on behalf of Minister Aglukkaq, over $14 million in federal funding over five years to support seven new research teams. As well, $1.4 million in funding is being provided by Genome British Columbia, the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada, and the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The research teams are based in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia.
"The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada is very pleased to partner with CIHR and others in microbiome research. Inflammatory bowel disease is believed to be caused by abnormal immune responses resulting from a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental triggers in conjunction with gut microbes. Hence, microbiome research is integral to finding ways to prevent and cure Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis, which affect one in 160 Canadians," says Kevin W. Glasgow, MD, FRCPC and CEO of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada.
"This exciting initiative offers new hope to all people with cystic fibrosis - the most common, fatal, genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults," said Cathleen Morrison, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. "Our Foundation is proudly supporting one of the teams of the Canadian Microbiome Initiative. This team will investigate the role microbes play in the severity and progression of infection in the lungs of individuals with cystic fibrosis."
"The CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity (III) is proud to support our seven research teams from across the country that exemplifies the innovation necessary to address and treat a wide range of conditions," said Dr. Marc Ouellette, Scientific Director for CIHR. "The goal of this initiative is to discover which microbial communities exist in different parts of the human body and to explore how these communities impact and influence human health or disease."
For the past 10 years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) has supported better health and health care for Canadians. As the Government of Canada's health research investment agency, CIHR enables the creation of evidence-based knowledge and its transformation into improved treatments, prevention and diagnoses, new products and services, and a stronger, patient-oriented health-care system. Composed of 13 internationally recognized Institutes, CIHR supports more than 13,600 health researchers and trainees across Canada.
Founded in 2000, Genome BC works collaboratively with government, universities and industry as the catalyst for a genomics-driven life sciences cluster with significant social and economic benefits for the Province and Canada. The organization's research portfolio, over $430 million since inception, includes 87 projects and technology platforms focused on areas of strategic importance to British Columbia such as human health, forestry, fisheries, bioenergy, mining, agriculture, and the environment. Genome BC programs are funded by the Provincial Government of British Columbia, Government of Canada through Genome Canada, Western Economic Diversification Canada, and other public and private partners. More information is available at www.genomebc.ca.
The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding the cure for inflammatory bowel disease, which affects more than 200,000 people in Canada alone. To realize this, the CCFC is committed to raise increasing funds for medical research, and administers the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Research Institute. The CCFC also believes in educating individuals with IBD, their families, health professionals, and the general public about these diseases.
The Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is a Canada-wide health charity, with 50 volunteer chapters, that funds CF research and care. 2010 marks the Foundation's 50th Anniversary. To continue its track record of excellence, the Foundation is supporting more than 50 research projects which are exploring all aspects of the CF puzzle; from investigating new methods of fighting infection and inflammation in the lungs to finding new therapies that target the basic defect at the cellular level. As of February 1, 2011, the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will be known as Cystic Fibrosis Canada. For more information, visit www.cysticfibrosis.ca.
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