Lab Canada

McMaster to create Canada’s first library of human embryonic stem cells

Hamilton, ON – Canada will have its first human embryonic stem cell library, based at McMaster University, thanks to a multi-million-dollar commitment from Hamilton businessman David Braley.

The library is one component in a $50-million gift that includes three components, which are:

– $15-million for the stem cell library. This will allow scientists in the university’s Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine to dramatically amplify their research investigating the potential of human embryonic stem cells. This initiative will be led by stem cell biologist, Dr Mick Bhatia, a renowned leader in human stem cell research. Partnering with the Bhatia team of scientists will be Dr David Andrews and his biochemistry group. This library will serve as a platform for stem cell study and therapeutics and has already attracted industry support.

– A $25-million endowment fund for research or capital. The intent of this fund is to allow flexibility to respond to new opportunities and to pursue research that holds the greatest promise to improve health. Because medical discoveries are often unexpected and sometimes unpredictable, this fund will allow the researchers greater opportunity to build on their discoveries as they happen.

– $10 million for a Family Medicine Centre that will be led by Dr David Price, chair of McMaster’s department of family medicine.

“This commitment to the Michael G DeGroote School of Medicine is an investment in education and health care for the people of Hamilton, Ontario and Canada,” says Mr Braley. “I see this as seed money that should be amplified by our government and industry to continue to build the medical school, the Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, and the Hamilton region.

“Working with human embryonic stem cells is prohibitively difficult, so there are very few places in the world with the trained scientists, experience and the specialized infrastructure to overcome the barriers to success. McMaster is one of those places,” says Dr Bhatia, who is also scientific director of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute. “This is a distinct investment opportunity, and David Braley sees our vision of creating a platform for significant innovations in stem cell based tissue repair and novel therapeutics to eradicate human cancer.”