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$2.4M for Saskatchewan health researchers


Saskatoon, SK – Health research in Saskatchewan just received a major boost with the injection of $2.4 million through the Regional Partnership Program (RPP), a program funded by the governments of Canada and Saskatchewan.

Twenty health researchers received funding under the RPP, a cost-shared program between the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), for a variety of projects that will improve the quality of life for the citizens of Saskatchewan. The RPP recipients are conducting research in a number of disciplines within organizations such as the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron, Saskatchewan’s hospitals, health regions, and universities.

Some of this year’s research includes:

Dr Anurag Saxena, a clinical researcher and pathology professor in the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine, was awarded $166,378 to understand certain genes regulating cell death in the most common form of leukemia in the Western world, chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Understanding these genetic markers could lead to better screening tools for the disease and a new target for therapeutic drugs.

Jaime Williams, a graduate student at the University of Regina, was awarded $55,000 to investigate the fear of pain and fear of falling in seniors diagnosed with dementia including the role of the caregiver in influencing the level of risk.

David Sanders, University of Saskatchewan assistant professor of chemistry, was awarded $197,896 to use synchrotron X-rays to study a protein found in organisms that cause aspergillosis (a common cause of pneumonia in immune-compromised patients such as those with cancer or AIDS) and tropical diseases leishmaniasis and Chaga’s disease. Sanders will study the structure of this protein to see if it would make a good target for new drugs to treat these devastating illnesses.

“The collaborative effort put forward by all RPP stakeholders to support these high quality research projects underscores the importance of building partnerships in order to develop a strong health research community,” said Liz Harrison, SHRF board chair.

Since the RPP was initiated in 1999, it has provided support to more than 100 researchers and has invested more than $14.8 million toward health research in Saskatchewan.