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Research hospitals receive up to $61M for equipment and facilities


Ottawa, ON – The Canadian Foundation for Innovation has approved up to $61 million to support 12 projects at eight institutions under the new Research Hospital Fund (RHF). The announcement was made today by Dr Eliot Phillipson, president and CEO of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and Ujjal Dosanjh, minister of health and David L Emerson, minister of industry.

The funding for state-of-the-art equipment and facilities is intended to enable research hospitals to tackle research that is increasingly sophisticated and leading-edge. The projects announced in this first round cover a broad range of health research – from diabetes prevention and treatment in Montreal, to the development of better therapeutic drugs to battle cancer in Toronto, to better hip replacement methods in Vancouver. Full details of the projects can be found below.

“These infrastructure investments in health care will provide Canada’s research hospitals with the tools necessary to be internationally competitive," said Dr Phillipson. "Researchers will have the support they need to further improve Canada’s health care system."

To ensure that they remain leaders in health research and health care innovation, research hospitals are seeking to establish new and different research space. As part of the 2003 Health Accord with the provinces, the federal government allocated $500 million to the CFI to enhance the foundation’s support for state-of-the-art health research facilities.

The RHF is designed to contribute to research hospital-based projects that support innovative research and training, in particular large scale infrastructure projects that take a more integrated and multidisciplinary approach to health researchbiomedical, clinical, health services and population health research. As with other funds, the CFI will provide up to 40% of the eligible costs.

Projects that received funding today:

1. Centre hospitalier de l’Universit de Montral – http://www.chumontreal.qc.ca/

A. Montreal Diabetes Research Centre: Linking Basic Science and Clinical Research for Diabetes Prevention and Treatment. Maximum RHF contribution: $4,520,352. Led by Dr Mark Prentki, this centre will open the door to groundbreaking discoveries and therapies in the field of diabetes.

B. Integrated Research Center in Human Immunology, Immunotherapy and Vaccinology. Maximum RHF contribution: $5,000,887. With the establishment of this centre, which brings together world-class researchers and led by Dr Rafick-Pierre Skaly, Montreal will become a world leader in the development of novel vaccines and immunotherapeutics in the fight against cancer, chronic viral diseases and autoimmune diseases trials.

2. Provincial Health Services Authority (BC) – http://www.phsa.ca/default.htm

A. Centre for Disease Modelling. Maximum RHF contribution: $7,336,986. This infrastructure will support cutting-edge research into diseases including: prion disease, tuberculosis and other mycobacterial diseases, gastrointestinal disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, epilepsy, and cardiovascular diseases. This project will support integrative, multidisciplinary research and training performed by researchers based at the BC Research Institute for Children’s and Women’s Health and at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.

3. IWK Health Centre – http://www.iwk.nshealth.ca

A. Establishment of the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology (Halifax) with laboratories for basic, translational, and multidisciplinary research and facilities for human challenge studies. Maximum RHF contribution: $2,176,726; Led by Dr Scott Halperin, professor of pediatrics and CIHR/Wyeth clinical research chair in vaccines, the Centre for Vaccinology will focus on the discovery and evaluation of new vaccines and vaccine technologies. The centre will develop innovative approaches to meet national objectives on an immunization strategy as identified in the Romanow Commission Report of 2002.

B. Cheminformatics and Drug Discovery Laboratory (CDDL). Maximum RHF contribution: $909,126. Led by Drs Donald Weaver and Chris McMaster, this laboratory will develop and evaluate new chemical entities as potential therapies. In particular, in the application of non-invasive MRI methods for evaluating potential antibiotic drug therapies.

4. Vancouver Coastal Health Authority – http://www.vch.ca

A. Centre for Hip Health: A Lifespan Approach. Maximum RHF contribution: $5,254,523. At the world’s first Centre for Hip Health at Vancouver General Hospital, part of Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, international experts in bone health, falls prevention, and osteoarthritis will look at hip health over the lifespan. Directed by University of British Columbia Assoc Prof Tom Oxland, the centre’s scope spans childhood to old age, including preventative programs for children, early detection in adults, intervention programs for the at-risk elderly, and improved surgical treatments.

B. PC-TRIADD: Prostate Centre’s Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development. Maximum RHF contribution: $7,695,981. Gram for gram, the prostate is the most diseased organ in the body. Led by Dr Martin Gleave, professor of surgery at UBC and clinical director of the Prostate Centre at VGH, PC-TRIADD will launch a program of world-class imaging and robotic tools that will help turn research discoveries into treatments at an advanced pace. The Prostate Centre at VGH, part of Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (www.vchri.ca), will be one of the world’s most comprehensive prostate cancer research facilities. Investigators are particularly interested in genetic mechanisms of the disease.

5. The Hospital for Sick Children – http://www.sickkids.ca

A. Integrative Genomics for Health Research. Maximum RHF contribution: $4,364,275. The completion of the human genome sequence is fueling biomedical discovery at an unprecedented rate. Led by Dr Stephen Scherer of Sick Kids, this project will bring together top scientists and trainees working in state-of-the-art facilities at Sick Kids and Mount Sinai Hospital to support research that translates new genomic information into improved health care. This award will bring together over 250 people, creating the largest concentration of applied genetics and genomics health researchers in Canada.

6. University Health Network – http://www.uhn.ca/index.asp

A. Spatio-Temporal Targeting and Amplification of Radiation Response (STTARR) Innovation Centre: Imaging and Animal Support Infrastructure Enhancement. Maximum RHF contribution: $3,893,177. This new facility will allow researchers to visualize tissues to study new methods of diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and bone cancer as well as after organ transplant and in schizophrenia, chronic pain and neurological disease. Led by Dr David Jaffray, this project will create a leading centre to study advanced imaging techniques, including novel applications of positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) modalities.

B. Level 3 Immunodiagnostics and Biotherapeutics Facility. Maximum RHF contribution: $3,982,883. Transplant patients are often subject to increased risk of infectious complications. Led by Dr Gary Levy, this project will create a leading centre to study new immune-based diagnostics and treatments for a wide range of diseases. This includes an expanded program in molecular surveillance and diagnostics of new and emerging diseases including SARS, West Nile virus, HIV, and TB, among others.

C. Advanced Medical Discovery Institute: Drug Discovery and Clinical Impact in Cancer. Maximum RHF contribution: $9,018,412. In spite of recent advances in understanding the molecular basis of cancer, the development of new cancer therapies is limited by the lack of facilities and expertise to validate new drugs and to transition new drugs to clinical trials in patients. The visi
on of the AMDI is to fill this “validation gap” in Canadian cancer research. Led by Dr Tak Mak, this new centre brings together expertise in molecular and structural biology, drug development, medicinal chemistry, antibody and immunotherapy and preclinical research models to develop new anti-cancer drugs from concept to clinical practice.

7. Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – http://www.torontorehab.com

A. Laboratories and workspaces for scientists and graduate students engaged in the iDAPT Research Program at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (a teaching hospital of the University of Toronto). ximum RHF contribution: $6,253,296. Led by Dr Geoff Fernie, Toronto Rehab’s vice president of research, in collaboration with investigators at the University of Toronto and other academic centres across Canada, the $36 million iDAPT initiative will significantly change the landscape of rehabilitation research in Canada and beyond. It will be one of the most advanced rehabilitation research facilities in the world where new therapies and assistive technologies will be developed for people recovering from and living with disabling injury or illness.