Harper Government Invests in Personalized Medicine

Improving the quality of life of Canadians by developing more effective treatments

For immediate release -

2012-06


The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announces a $67.5 million dollar investment ($22.5 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, $40 million from Genome Canada and $5 million from the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium) to support funding of research teams in the area of Personalized Health.

Ottawa, Ontario (January 31, 2012) – The Harper Government today announced an important investment that will help Canadians in getting more effective treatments and make the healthcare system more sustainable through personalized medicine. The announcement was made by the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology.

"Our Government is committed to improving the quality of life of Canadians," Minister Aglukkaq said. "The potential to understand a person's genetic makeup and the specific character of their illness in order to best determine their treatment will significantly improve the quality of life for patients and their families and may show us the way to an improved health care system and even save costs in certain circumstances."


The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology) speaks to this announcement.

Personalized medicine offers the potential to transform the delivery of healthcare to patients. Healthcare will evolve from a reactive "one-size-fits-all" system towards a system of predictive, preventive, and precision care. Areas in which personalized approaches are particularly promising include oncology, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, psychiatric disorders, diabetes and obesity, arthritis, pain, and Alzheimer's disease. In all of these fields, and others, a personalized molecular medicine approach is expected to lead to better health outcomes, improved treatments, and reduction in toxicity due to variable or adverse drug responses. For example, cancer patients would be screened to identify those for whom chemotherapy would be ineffective. In addition to saving on the costs of expensive drug treatments, this personalized treatment would prevent a great deal of suffering, while identifying and initiating earlier treatments that would be more effective.

"I applaud Genome Canada and the CIHR for their leadership in supporting research in personalized medicine," said Minister Goodyear. "Innovative approaches like these lead to significant health benefits, enhance our knowledge within the medical arena and can be commercialized to help so many others worldwide."

Genome Canada is leading the landmark research competition, with significant collaboration from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium (CSCC). To qualify for funding, researchers must obtain matching funding that at is least equal to that provided through the competition. Matching funding is typically derived from provincial, academic, private sector or international sources.


Left to right: Dr. Denis Prud'homme, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Pierre Meulien, President and CEO, Genome Canada, Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), Dr. Mona Nemer, Vice President Research, University of Ottawa, Dr. Alain Beaudet, President CIHR, Dr. Jacques Bradwejn, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine

Left to right: Dr. Paul Lasko, Scientific Director, CIHR-Institute of Genetics, Dr. Denis Prud'homme, Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Pierre Meulien, President and CEO, Genome Canada, Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State (Science and Technology), Dr. Mona Nemer, Vice President Research, University of Ottawa, Dr. Alain Beaudet, President CIHR, Dr. Jacques Bradwejn, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Morag Park, Scientific Director, CIHR-Institute of Cancer Research

 

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Fact Sheet

Further information:

Cailin Rodgers
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Stephanie Thomas
Special Assistant (Communications)
Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear
Minister of State (Science and Technology)
613-960-7728

David Coulombe
Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
613-941-4563

Marlene Orton
Director, Media Relations
Genome Canada
613-751-4460 x119
BlackBerry: 613-295-1476

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

Genome Canada is a non-profit corporation employing an innovative business model based on funding and managing large-scale, multidisciplinary, internationally peer-reviewed genomics research projects in areas such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, the environment and human health. For more information, visit their Website.

The Cancer Stem Cell Consortium is a not-for-profit corporation that was incorporated in 2007 to coordinate an international strategy for cancer stem cell research and related translational activities. For more information, visit their Website.