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Cell restoration lab opens in Halifax


Halifax, NS – April 5, 2004 – Dalhousie Medical School recently opened a new cell restoration laboratory exclusively dedicated to stem cell applications for brain repair. The lab and its state-of-the-art infrastructure are the cornerstone of the stem cells for brain repair project, which is part of the Brain Repair Centre (BRC), the largest research collaboration in Atlantic Canada.

"The Cell Restoration Laboratory is a world-class resource for the region and for Canada, which will help us bring to reality new innovations in brain repair using stem cell technology," says Dr Ivar Mendez, professor and head of the division of neurosurgery at Dalhousie, chair of the BRC, and one of the scientists who will perform research in the new lab. "The lab will also play a key role in helping us attract and retain the brightest research scientists in this field."

The laboratory was made possible through the collaboration of its funding partners: the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Atlantic Innovation Fund contributed $2.1 million to the project; contributions of $1.1 million from the QEII Foundation’s Working Miracles Capital Campaign and $500,000 from the Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation; and Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Medicine provided space for the lab.

Research at the cell restoration laboratory will focus on stem cell restoration strategies for repairing neuronal circuitry in patients with disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, ALS, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and optic nerve injury. This newly expanded stem cell research facility includes state-of-the-art equipment for stem cell and animal behavioural testing systems, including an electrophysiological imaging module.

The laboratory complements the existing neural transplantation program, which is unique in Canada and one of only four worldwide. The investigators collaborate closely with labs across Canada, the United States and Europe in search of ways to improve cell survival