This will be the first cell therapy development facility in the world to use a collaborative approach – between research institutions and industry – to solve cell therapy manufacturing challenges. The new, world-class facility will create good jobs, strengthen Canada’s knowledge economy, and position Ontario as a global hub for the cell therapy industry.
According to a News Release from the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday:
- The project, which has a total cost of $43.8 million, has the potential to make Ontario a global hub for the cell therapy industry.
- The $20 million in Government of Canada funding will be provided once the CCRM meets the terms and conditions outlined in the contribution agreement. All project activities must be completed by December 31, 2018.
- The Government of Canada funding will be used to support improvements to the new facility and the purchase of specialized equipment. Furthermore, funding will support the development of at least five new patent applications, the commercialization of 30 new products or processes, and the creation or maintenance of 389 high-quality jobs by project completion in December 2018.
Every year, thousands of Canadians die as a result of cancer, heart conditions, and other medical disorders. Regenerative medicine has emerged as a promising approach to disease prevention and treatment, harnessing the power of stem cells to repair, regenerate, or replace damaged cells, tissues, and organs affected by disease.
The Government of Canada will therefore provide funding to the CCRM, who will collaborate with GE Healthcare and other industry partners, to establish a centre that will accelerate the development and adoption of cell manufacturing technologies.
“The health of Canadians is a priority. We believe that supporting this new, world-class facility will have significant benefits for innovative health-related technology in Canada and around the world. It will also generate new jobs and make Ontario an even stronger competitor in the bio-tech industry,” stated Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada.
“This is wonderful news for CCRM, Canada, GE Healthcare and the global regenerative medicine community. The new centre will provide jobs for highly skilled workers and help the cell therapy industry overcome critical manufacturing bottlenecks. Most importantly, the outputs of this centre will enable access to revolutionary medical treatments for patients from around the world,” said Michael May, President and CEO, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine.
“We are pleased the federal government is investing in the new advanced therapeutic cell technologies centre at MaRS. Ontario provided seed funding for the Centre for the Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine to support research and commercialization in regenerative medicine, which we know will continue to be a key driver in the province’s life sciences sector. Today’s announcement will further grow Ontario’s reputation as a global leader in this field, which offers incredible potential for continued growth in the future,” said Honourable Reza Moridi, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation.
There has been controversy across Canada regarding the research and use of stem cell therapy.
When reports surfaced that hockey legend Gordie Howe had recovered from a stroke thanks to stem cell therapy, a fierce debate broke out in scientific and medical circles.
No consensus has been reached but one fact is not in dispute, states Personal Health News: “Stem cell research is making headlines again and Canadians want to know more about it. What they’re discovering is that it’s a dynamic field that holds a lot of promise.
“The Ontario government recently financed the establishment of the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM), which is dedicated to translating the findings of stem cell research into curative therapies for degenerative diseases.
“The vision is to make cutting-edge treatment available to people who need it, including those who suffer from neurological conditions.
“Two organizations, the Ontario Stem Cell Initiative (OSCI) and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), oversaw the creation of the new institute. Dr. Janet Rossant, the interim director, sees OIRM as the glue that brings researchers, clinicians and bioengineers together with an organization (CCRM) capable of turning their regenerative medicine discoveries into economic opportunities.
“Several promising initiatives are already underway, she says, including one at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Researchers there have found that metformin, a drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes, can stimulate stem cells to produce new brain cells. In studies on mice and on human brain cell cultures in a lab, brain cells have multiplied.
“Dr. May is enthusiastic about one initiative in particular — an ultramodern GMP (good manufacturing practice) cell-manufacturing facility being built in Toronto with CCRM’s partners and funding from the provincial government. It will encourage the companies that CCRM is creating or attracting to stay in Ontario.
“One of the first projects anticipated for the 1,850 square metre facility will be in the field of immunotherapy, in which researchers train a cancer patient’s white blood cells to attack cancerous cells.
““When people see what is going on in this area, they will be stunned,” May says. “It’s clear that scientists, clinicians and commercial entities can work together to see regenerative medicine have both health and economic benefits.”” 
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