McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Ontario’s $11.5M will build network for stem cell-based therapies

Published: April 23, 2010
SCCRI Grant Announcement
Talking together at the announcement are (from left): John Milloy, Ontario minister of research and innovation; Mick Bhatia, scientific director of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute; Sophia Aggelonitis, Hamilton Mountain MPP and minister of consumer services and John Kelton, dean and vice-president, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University.

McMaster University’s Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute has received $11.5 million to lead a world-class initiative to develop new stem cell-based therapies.

John Milloy, Ontario minister of research and innovation, was on campus April 22 to announce the award to the institute’s director Mick Bhatia for the Ontario Consortium for Regeneration-Inducing Therapeutics (OCRiT). The collaborative initiative will integrate robotics and high-performance computing to create an automated stem cell platform to identify new drugs capable of inducing stem cells in one’s own body to repair damaged tissues.

The award was the largest given to 19 large-scale collaborative projects sharing $115 million from the Ontario Research Fund as part of its Global Leadership Round in Genomics and Life Sciences research grant competition, also known as GL².

"The revolutionary GL² research projects are being led by some of the greatest minds in our province," Milloy said. "Supporting this advanced work will drive the future of health care and promote jobs and prosperity in Ontario."

Mick Bhatia agreed the development of progressive technologies and scientific expertise will open new doors for investment in new knowledge-sector industries for the province and in Hamilton.

"By training and collaborating, the scientific knowledge gained from this investment is difficult to measure. The untapped potential of stem cells within our bodies to regenerate tissue will be immense and OCRiT will ensure we have an understanding of this process to develop safe and effective drug therapies."

John Kelton, dean and vice-president of health sciences for McMaster, said the new partnership is a fresh example of the University’s tradition of collaboration: "This will harness the wide range of knowledge and skills already in Ontario to make the province a leader in human stem cell-based drug discovery."

Partners in the consortium include the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa as well as the University Health Network, the Ottawa Health Research Institute, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and the Hospital for Sick Children.

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