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Canadian patients to benefit from major investment in genomics and precision health research

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Toronto, ON

Government of Canada and partners invest $255 million in genomics research bringing new hope for Canadians living with cancer, cystic fibrosis, juvenile arthritis, childhood asthma and other diseases.

Precision health promises to transform the way Canadians receive medical care. In the near future, doctors may be able to precisely diagnose symptoms based on a patient’s unique genetic makeup and offer them tailor-made treatments that can save the patient’s life.

To help make that possibility a reality, the Government of Canada announced two new major investments in genomics research totalling $255 million from federal and provincial governments, as well as research institutions and private sector partners.

The federal Minister of Science, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, made the announcements at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, where she highlighted a $162 million investment through Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and co-funding partners, in 15 genomics and precision health projects across Canada.

The projects funded at SickKids will provide targeted treatments for children with brain cancer and will transform treatment for children living with arthritis. The funding also supports a targeted initiative to address health challenges facing Indigenous populations, improving diagnostic outcomes for Indigenous children that have genetic diseases.

Minister Duncan also announced a second major investment to support advanced genomics technology platforms across the country. These technology platforms support the development of improved technologies that underpin research advances in health, agriculture and natural resources. A total of $93 million is being invested in 10 platforms nationwide, with $45 million in federal funding through Genome Canada and an additional $48 million from other sources.

The combined totals of these two investments will provide researchers with access to cutting-edge tools, technologies and services while furthering the Government of Canada’s goal to strengthen and support the country’s scientific community.  

Quotes

“It is an honour to support some of Canada’s leading genomics and precision health researchers through investments that will allow them to further their discoveries and innovations. Their incredible work brings hope to Canadians living with chronic illnesses, such as cancer, cystic fibrosis and arthritis, while strengthening Canada’s health-care system.”

– Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

“All Canadians stand to benefit from the innovative and collaborative research projects being announced today. The platforms, tools, technologies and services that will be developed through this funding will improve our understanding of many illnesses, particularly those that affect the most vulnerable patients, including children and Indigenous peoples.”

– Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

“What’s exciting about these genomics and precision health projects is how clinically-oriented they are. Most are led by clinical scientists who deal with patients on a day-to-day basis and are well positioned to apply the research to health-care settings. Further, they are not just about developing new therapies to treat diseases, but about early diagnosis and intervention to better curb or manage diseases at their onset.”

– Mr. Marc LePage, President and CEO, Genome Canada

“Our understanding of the human genome and epigenetics is advancing at an unprecedented pace.  As a result, today we are creating knowledge that will improve health and health care delivery in ways that were unimaginable only years ago. CIHR is proud to partner with Genome Canada on this important initiative, and to support the outstanding scientists who are at the forefront of this rapidly growing field of research.”

– Dr. Roderick R. McInnes, Acting President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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