Arrow Left Go back to previous page Back to News

Canada requires further investment into stem cell research


Experts have stated that Canada needs ‘big investment” to move forward in the field of stem cell research, in order to keep pace with the rest of the world.

Canada was an early leader in the area of stem cell research, having pioneered this field in 1961. This was through the work carried out by Dr. James Till and Dr. Ernest McCulloch in discovering the existence of stem cells at the Toronto-based Ontario Cancer Institute.

A perfect stem cell match is required for treatment, to avoid the body rejecting donated cells and to avoid a lifetime of anti-rejection drugs. The best stem cells are those harvested and stored young before they deteriorate either through the natural aging process or pollutants.

Ontario Institute of Regenerative Medicine Executive Director Janet Rossant said: “When we’re talking about investment in research, we are not, as a country, investing the same percentage in research and development as some of our competitor countries. But we do extremely well on relatively small investments.”

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research found that the government had invested around $705 million in stem cell research since 2001. In comparison, the state of California, with a population similar to that of Canada, committed $3 billion in funding in 2004 alone.

Canadian Stem Cell Foundation CEO James Price said: “Our strategy is focused on ten new curative therapies in the clinic in ten years. It’s focused on producing 12,000 jobs for Canadians and it’s focused on attracting significant private-sector investment into the area. And to do that, you need a long-term commitment.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has recently announced $20 million in federal funding in order to establish a new facility for the Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, with the aim to find ways to create more widely available stem cell therapy treatments.