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Glycomics research network to develop drugs, vaccines


Edmonton, ABGlycoNet, a new national research network based in Edmonton, is receiving $27.3 million over five years from the federal government to develop new drugs and vaccines for conditions such as influenza, genetic diseases and diabetes.

Canadian scientists have occupied a world-leading role in this area of research over the past 50 years, and the new network builds on that reputation. GlycoNet researchers will analyze the function of glycomes (or carbohydrates) in the body and find ways to take advantage of their biological role to fight various diseases. Bringing together more than 60 researchers from across Canada who work in such disciplines as chemistry, biochemistry, biology and immunology, the network will help develop new drugs and vaccines.

“The network will build on the activities of the Alberta Glycomics Centre and the tremendous jurisdictional strength Canada has in this important and rapidly evolving field,” said Dr. Todd Lowary, GlycoNet’s scientific director. “GlycoNet will become an international research and translation hub in glycomics and a crucial driver for novel solutions to unmet medical needs, including vaccines, drugs and devices.”

The announcement is the result of the most recent competition in the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program. The competition resulted in four new networks receiving funding, which includes GlycoNet, and one existing network being renewed for a second five-year term.

Previously announced network launches were BioCanRX (Biotherapeutics for Cancer Treatment , based in Ottawa), CANet (Canadian Arrhythmia Network, based in London, ON), and AGE-WELL (Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement, and Long Life, based in Toronto). NeuroDevNet (based in Vancouver) had its funding renewed for five years.