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Stem cell centre chosen for prestigious US challenge grant


Ottawa, ON – The Ottawa community has been issued a challenge: to raise $2 million by November 2006 to support the construction of the new Centre for Stem Cell and Gene Therapy at the Ottawa Health Research Institute (OHRI), the research arm of the Ottawa Hospital. The OHRI must raise the money as a condition to receive a challenge grant of $800,000 from the Kresge Foundation.

“Stem cells have the potential to revolutionize medicine and possibly lead to cures for diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and diabetes,” says Dr Ron Worton, CEO and scientific director of the OHRI. “The new Centre for Stem Cell and Gene Therapy will mean untold benefits for people in our community, now and in the future.”

The funding will allow the hospital to complete construction and equip the centre as well as support ongoing operational and research expenses.

“This challenge grant is an incredibly prestigious honour from an institution known for supporting projects that improve the lives of people around the world,” said Susan Doyle, president and CEO of the Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

The Kresge Foundation, one of the largest foundations in the United States, is an independent, private foundation created by personal gifts of founder Sebastian S Kresge. It seeks to strengthen the capacity of charitable organizations to provide effective programs of quality. In 2004, the foundation awarded 179 grants totaling more than $119 million to organizations in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and France.

The Centre for Stem Cell and Gene Therapy is among the many capital projects currently underway at the Hospital’s three campuses that are funded largely by community donations to the Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s Legacy Campaign. The five-year, $100-million campaign supports facilities upgrades, new equipment and lifesaving research at the hospital.