Lab Canada

Bold steps forward for Canada in new Stem Cell Action Plan

Ottawa, ON – A coalition of Canadian stem cell advocates, researchers and charities has launched an aggressive Action Plan for Canada to lead the way in developing up to 10 breakthrough therapies by 2025.

The 10-year Action Plan outlined in a new report Following Through: Realizing the Promise of Stem Cells – A Canadian Stem Cell Strategy & Action Plan (2015-2025) was created by scientists, medical doctors, leaders from major health charities, industry experts and philanthropists. It is backed up by an in-depth study by KPMG and has been endorsed by an international panel of experts. The report outlines how Canada can transform health care and reduce suffering and death from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, vision loss, spinal cord injury and other devastating conditions.

The plan calls for a $1.5-billion public-private investment over 10 years, including a $50-million scaled annual average commitment by the federal government.

“Canada has always been a leader in stem cell research,” said James Price, president and CEO of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation. “With this Action Plan and the infrastructure already in place, we have the capacity to transform health care in Canada by helping millions of Canadians through new, life-changing therapies and long-term economic growth.”

Dr. Janet Rossant, head of research at SickKids Hospital, said the time is right for Canada to seize the opportunity to move stem cell science forward: “We are at an incredibly exciting time in science where our research is leading to new treatments and therapies,” she said.

“I’m proud to be a part of this historic coalition,” said Allen Eaves, founder and CEO of STEMCELL Technologies Inc. “The Action Plan is ready to move forward and already has received private-sector support. Support from all governments will ensure companies like mine are able to create local jobs and, most importantly, transform stem cell research into tangible products and lifesaving therapies.”

The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine estimates the plan could generate more than 12,000 jobs for Canadians via the growth of existing companies and the development of new enterprises that reach global markets.