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News

// December 4, 2014

A research team from UBC’s Centre for Health Services and Policy Research has been selected to evaluate the impact of the BC Ministry of Health’s Accelerated Integrated Primary and Community Care (aIPCC) initiatives.

The researchers, led by Dr. Kim McGrail, will use Ministry of Health data to identify patterns of health services use, such as emergency department visits, acute care admissions, and long-term residential care admissions. Their study will determine how these patterns have changed as a result of aIPCC initiatives, which are being implemented across the province to support the Ministry’s goal of providing as many health services as possible in the community.

McGrail and her team were selected to undertake this project through a Request for Applications issued by MSFHR in August. The multi-disciplinary team includes experts in health economics, nursing, primary care, and home and community care.

The study’s methodology and analyses will be developed in collaboration with an advisory committee that includes representatives of each regional health authority and the Ministry of Health. A rigorous observational study design will estimate changes in the use of health care services that can be attributed to integrated primary and community care interventions. This quantitative analysis may also inform future research, such as a qualitative study to understand why different programs have different effects.

MSFHR is funding the 10-month study through a $100,000 grant. A final report will be submitted to MSFHR and the BC Ministry of Health in fall 2015.


// December 3, 2014

MSFHR-supported research underpins a key policy document for controlling cervical cancer issued today by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The new WHO guidelines recommend vaccinating 9- to 13-year-old girls with two doses of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, instead of the standard three-dose regimen. Two doses have been found to be just as effective as three at conferring immunity to HPV infection, based on a growing body of research evidence that includes MSFHR-funded studies by researchers at the Child & Family Research Institute and the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Compared to the three-dose regimen, a two-dose HPV vaccine is less costly and easier to administer, offering significant advantages in developing countries where resources are most scarce and the need is greatest.

Despite being easily preventable, cervical cancer kills more than 270,000 women annually, 85 per cent of whom are in developing countries. HPV infections cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer, which is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide.

A new study by the MSFHR-funded research team seeks to determine if a two-dose vaccine provides equivalent long-term protection over a 10-year period. The researchers are in the process of recruiting more than 8,600 teenage girls from across Canada to take part in the study.

Read more:


// December 1, 2014
2011 MSFHR Scholar Dr. Sohrab Shah co-led the new BC Cancer Agency study, published this week in Nature

A new study led by BC Cancer Agency scientists Dr. Samuel Aparicio and Dr. Sohrab Shah represents a significant advance in our understanding of how complex cancers, such as breast cancer, evolve over time.

The study, published this week in the journal Nature, uses genomic sequencing in combination with a new computational model called PyClone to track which cells and mutations dominate as a cancer evolves.

PyClone was developed by Shah, whose work is supported by a 2011 MSFHR Scholar Award. Aparicio is the recently named winner of the 2014 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize.

The research will help inform better, more target treatment approaches by proving that cancers evolve and change over time and in response to drug therapies. Until now, the evolution of a patient’s cancer has been largely overlooked from a treatment perspective without a way to accurately analyze and measure the changing cell populations.

“We now have the ability to determine which individual cancer cells are the ‘resilient’ ones, which, if left untreated, will have the most impact on patient survival,” said Shah in a news release.

In addition to Shah and Aparicio, several other individuals with current or past connections to MSFHR contributed to this research:


// November 26, 2014

The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) is pleased to launch the 2015 Research Trainee Program competition for post-doctoral fellowship awards.

This funding competition is open to applicants who are eligible to hold a post-doctoral fellow position at a BC-based host institution for the duration of the Research Trainee – Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award. Host institutions must have a signed memorandum of understanding with MSFHR.

At the time of application, applicants must commit at least 75 percent time to research training; this commitment does not include holding a full-time paid research position. Health professionals with active clinical service must commit at least 50 percent time to research training.

Competition guidelines are now available on the MSFHR website.

Note: The MSFHR ApplyNet system will open in early February 2015 to accept applications to this competition. Full application instructions and evaluation criteria will be posted at this time.

Letters of intent must be submitted by March 17, 2015. The deadline for receipt of full applications is April 20, 2015.

> Learn more: 2015 MSFHR Trainee Awards

“Our program review, currently underway, has validated the importance of MSFHR trainee awards as one of the cornerstones of building British Columbia’s capacity for world-class research,” said Bev Holmes, MSFHR vice-president, research & impact. “And for this trainee competition, as with our last scholar competition, we have amended the guidelines to also support applications from health professionals.”

MSFHR Trainee awards provide up to three years of salary support to help highly qualified post-doctoral fellows develop their skills. By supporting the training of young investigators, BC is well positioned to retain them as future health research leaders.  Since 2001, MSFHR has more than 1,200 trainee awards worth nearly $39 million.

As in previous years, MSFHR is working with partner organizations to jointly fund some awards. Confirmed partners will have their keywords included in MSFHR ApplyNet and applicants will be able to indicate if they are interested in being considered for a partnered award.  MSFHR will continue to seek out additional partners throughout the competition cycle so check our website regularly for an updated list of confirmed partners and keywords.

For more information on this funding competition, contact Rashmita Salvi at 604.714.2779 or rsalvi@msfhr.org.


// November 26, 2014
Dr. Christopher West (left) and Dr. John Kramer received 2014 Scholar Awards jointly funded by MSFHR and the Rick Hansen Institute.

Spinal cord injury and its accompanying loss of mobility have a devastating impact on the health and well-being of more than 86,000 Canadians.

While paralysis is the most widely recognized symptom, numerous secondary complications such as neuropathic pain, pressure ulcers, bladder infections, and cardiovascular dysfunction present complex care needs for individuals and their families.

Although these conditions remain difficult to treat, advances in research have led to therapeutic breakthroughs that are changing what it means to live with spinal cord injury.

At the leading edge of research into spinal cord injury is the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI). Based at Vancouver’s Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, RHI is committed to accelerating the translation of discoveries and best practices into improved treatments for people with spinal cord injuries.

RHI oversees several initiatives that support research collaboration across the spinal cord injury community.

The RHI Global Research Platform currently runs multi-site studies in over 40 locations across Canada and develops collaboration with research groups in the United States, Europe, Australia, China, and Israel. The Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry collects data and experiences from more than 4,000 Canadians, providing an invaluable resource for researchers and clinicians seeking to better understand spinal cord injury. In addition, RHI recently partnered with facilities in China, Australia, New Zealand, and Israel to expand the registry in those locations.

“The Rick Hansen Institute isn’t really an institute – it’s a network,” says Bill Barrable, chief executive officer of RHI. “It’s really about bringing together smart people, aggregating patients, doing clinical trials and best practice implementation with a guided objective of reducing paralysis and its impact.”

“One of the best investments that we could make”

An important part of RHI’s commitment to research has been its ongoing partnership with MSFHR to jointly fund BC researchers studying spinal cord injury and related conditions.

 “I think the Michael Smith awards are one of the best investments that we could make in terms of research in this province,” says Barrable. “To build that career path, to bring young people into science at an early stage and in a directed fashion by leveraging funds – it’s a very smart way to invest in people, in knowledge, in translation which ultimately leads to better outcomes for patients here and elsewhere.”

Since 2006, the organizations have partnered to support four researchers, including 2014 Scholar Award recipients Christopher West and John Kramer.

Kramer and West are focused on understanding specific secondary complications that affect individuals living with spinal cord injury.

West is studying how the heart changes after spinal cord injury and how these changes potentially influence illness and mortality. His research also seeks to understand the role of exercise in offsetting dysfunction of the heart after spinal cord injury.

The support of the Rick Hansen Institute will open the door to opportunities that will enhance the scope and impact of his research.

“If, for example, I wanted to look at a very large clinical trial to look at the effects of a particular type of exercise training, by being partnered with the Rick Hansen Institute, I can access other research centres across the country and really expand the number of participants I can recruit and the impact my research can have,” says West.

Kramer, who was also co-funded by RHI as a 2008 MSFHR Trainee, is studying neuropathic pain. These severe pain symptoms, which originate in parts of the body affected by paralysis, can be highly debilitating to individuals living with spinal cord injury. Kramer hopes his work to understand the causes of this pain will point the way to better treatments.

He credits the partnership for increasing his access to invaluable research resources such as the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry.

“It’s a fantastic partnership because this is the premier research institute that is reaching the greatest number of Canadians with spinal cord injury, so you immediately have these connections and the resources as well,” says Kramer.

“I think these partnered awards have been how I’ve gotten to where I’ve gotten as far as my research goes and the position that I have now.”

Related links:


// November 26, 2014

Connections is MSFHR's monthly e-newsletter. Each issue highlights the top MSFHR news from the past month and showcases the impact of research we've funded.


In this issue:

Feature

MSFHR News


MSFHR launches 2015 Trainee Award competition

The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) is pleased to launch the 2015 Research Trainee Program – Competition for Post-Doctoral Fellowship Awards.

This funding competition is open to applicants who are eligible to hold a post-doctoral fellow position at a BC-based host institution for the duration of the Research Trainee Program – Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award. Host institutions must have a signed memorandum of understanding with MSFHR.

At the time of application, applicants must commit at least 75 percent time to research training; this commitment does not include holding a full-time paid research position. Health professionals with active clinical service must commit at least 50 percent time to research training.

Competition guidelines are now available on MSFHR's website.

Note: The MSFHR ApplyNet system will open in early February 2015 to accept applications to this competition. Full application instructions will be posted at this time.

Letters of intent must be submitted by March 17, 2015. The deadline for receipt of full applications is April 20, 2015.

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BC Alzheimer's Research Award Program announces awardees

Five BC research teams have been awarded funds to study Alzheimer's disease thanks to a new $7.5M funding partnership between MSFHR, Brain Canada, Genome BC, and the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation.

The award recipients, announced November 21 at a special presentation hosted by the funding partners, include three teams from the University of British Columbia and two from Simon Fraser University.

The creativity and vision of these teams offers hope for the 70,000 British Columbians living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

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Dr. Samuel Aparicio named 2014 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize winner

Breast cancer researcher Dr. Samuel Aparicio has been named the winner of the fifth annual Aubrey J. Tingle Prize.

Dr. Aparicio's research program encompasses the fields of cancer genomics, mouse genetic models, high-throughput screens, and translational breast cancer research.

"Dr. Aparicio is an internationally recognized breast cancer and genomics scholar who has led landmark studies that have revolutionized the field of molecular oncology," says Dr. Diane Finegood, MSFHR president & CEO. "His research projects, including the world's largest global study of breast cancer tissue, have had far-reaching impacts on diagnosing and treating breast cancer."

Created in honour of MSFHR's founding president & CEO, this award is given to a British Columbia researcher whose work in health research is internationally recognized and has significant impact on advancing clinical or health services and policy research.

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MSFHR-RHI partnership a key investment in BC spinal cord injury research

Spinal cord injury and its accompanying loss of mobility have a devastating impact on the health and well-being of more than 86,000 Canadians.

Although this condition remains difficult to treat, advances in research have led to therapeutic breakthroughs that are changing what it means to live with spinal cord injury.

At the leading edge of research into spinal cord injury is the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI). Based at Vancouver's Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, RHI is committed to accelerating the translation of discoveries and best practices into improved treatments for people with spinal cord injuries.

Since 2006, RHI has partnered with MSFHR to support four researchers, including 2014 Scholar Award recipients Christopher West and John Kramer.

Back to top


Minimal-risk model a milestone for ethics harmonization in BC

BC has taken a significant step towards a more efficient and coordinated research ethics review process.

On December 1, a new model for harmonized ethics review of minimal-risk studies will begin pilot implementation in December, representing a major milestone in the ongoing BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative (BCEHI). The model has been endorsed by the senior leaders of the partner organizations for a six-month pilot implementation across their research ethics boards.

By allowing researchers to submit a single ethics application, regardless of the number of BC jurisdictions involved in a project, the new minimal-risk model will reduce the research team’s administrative workload and allow applications to be more efficiently reviewed and approved.

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KT workshop offers new skills and perspectives

The Scientist Knowledge Translation Training (SKTT™) workshop co-hosted by MSFHR and Genome BC earlier this month was highly successful and drew a great mix of participants across all research pillars.

The two-day workshop, led by Drs. Melanie Barwick and Donna Lockett, was open to 2014 MSFHR Scholar Award holders and their teams, and individuals who are part of research projects funded by Genome BC.

The workshop allowed participants to develop a fundamental skill set and competencies around creating and implementing a KT plan that can help generate research impact, promote research utilization, and ensure that research findings reach the appropriate audiences.

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Fostering collaborations in digital health research

MSFHR is co-hosting a one-day interactive forum scheduled for February 5, 2015, that will bring together the sectors involved in developing, implementing, and delivering digital health solutions to some of health care’s most pressing challenges for:

  • Youth with mental health conditions (ages 11-25)
  • Supporting seniors with complex care needs in their homes
  • Other areas consistent with health system priorities and the new Directions for Health Research in BC

We invite interested individuals to learn more and register at www.msfhr.org/digital-health-forum.

Registration is free of charge, but space is limited.

Back to top


Spark >> A BC Health Research Blog

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// November 26, 2014

MSFHR is co-hosting a one-day interactive forum scheduled for February 5, 2015, that will bring together the sectors involved in developing, implementing, and delivering digital health solutions to some of health care’s most pressing challenges for:

  • Youth with mental health conditions (ages 11-25)
  • Supporting seniors with complex care needs in their homes
  • Other areas consistent with health system priorities and the new Directions for Health Research in BC

Attendees will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn more about CIHR’s eHealth Innovations Partnership Program (eHIPP) funding opportunity and how to apply
  • Engage with individuals and organizations from the research, healthcare, education, government and technology sectors
  • Discuss enablers to successful cross-sectoral collaborations and jointly uncover potential solutions to key patient and system challenges. 

We invite interested individuals to learn more and register at www.msfhr.org/digital-health-forum.

Registration is free of charge, but space is limited.

Need more information or have questions? Contact Muneerah Kassam at mkassam@msfhr.org.


// November 25, 2014

BC has taken a significant step towards a more efficient and coordinated research ethics review process.

On December 1, a new model for harmonized ethics review of minimal-risk studies will begin pilot implementation, representing a major milestone in the ongoing BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative (BCEHI). The model has been endorsed by the senior leaders of the partner organizations for a six-month pilot implementation across their research ethics boards (REBs).

BCEHI aims to create streamlined, high-quality processes that encourage multi-jurisdictional human health research and remove impediments to collaborative research studies. The goal is to improve the timeliness and efficiency of ethics review to make BC a more attractive environment for research.

By allowing researchers to submit a single ethics application, regardless of the number of BC jurisdictions involved in a project, the new minimal-risk model will reduce the research team’s administrative workload and allow applications to be more efficiently reviewed and approved.

The minimal-risk model was developed collaboratively by members of the BCEHI Advisory Committee, building on work initiated by research ethics board chairs and administrators at a January 2014 forum. The Advisory Committee developed the criteria for identification of the Board of Record for each minimal-risk, harmonized review. The Board of Record is pivotal to the ethics review process and acts as the central contact for the research team and other REBs. A toolkit with documentation that defines the roles for participating REBs in a harmonized review, and documentation to support harmonized procedures, has also been created to support REB administrators and members and researchers during the pilot implementation.

In addition, work is underway on a harmonized review model for above-minimal-risk studies. Pilot implementation and evaluation of this model is expected to begin in early 2015.

Survey to provide insight into model’s effectiveness

To assess the effectiveness of the minimal-risk model in meeting BCEHI's priority objectives, an evaluation of the model processes will be undertaken throughout the pilot implementation.

An online survey has been developed that measures the minimal-risk ethics review process from beginning to end. Several factors will be measured in evaluating the model’s implementation. These include ease of use of the process for researchers, acceptability of the Board of Record review by other ethics boards, use and effectiveness of communication channels, and the workload associated with the harmonized process.  The data collected through the survey will allow improvement of the model and hopefully demonstrate its effectiveness to the research ethics community.  

Participants in the ethics review process for multi-jurisdictional studies will be invited to take part in the survey. Feedback is critical for gauging the model’s effectiveness and identifying areas for improvement.

Metrics will be gathered over the course of the pilot implementation. A final report will be provided to the Senior Leaders Team with recommendations for full implementation of the minimal-risk ethics review model.


// November 25, 2014

The Scientist Knowledge Translation Training (SKTT™) workshop co-hosted by MSFHR and Genome BC earlier this month was highly successful and drew a great mix of participants across all research pillars.

The two-day workshop, led by Drs. Melanie Barwick and Donna Lockett, was open to 2014 MSFHR Scholar Award holders and their teams, and individuals who are part of research projects funded by Genome BC.

“Participants in this workshop were a wonderful blend of new and seasoned researchers,” said Lockett. “For some, the workshop provided a new set of skills and perspective. For others, it offered an expansion and refinement of existing skills. The enthusiastic engagement that participants displayed, right to the very end of two long days, was an indicator of the most appropriate audience for our SKTT workshop.”

The workshop allowed participants to develop a fundamental skill set and competencies around creating and implementing a KT plan that can help generate research impact, promote research utilization, and ensure that research findings reach the appropriate audiences.

“I was pleased to hear that several participants reported they would be able to use a lot of what they learned during the workshop to strengthen the KT plans they were currently developing for grant applications,” said Jessica Collins, MSFHR knowledge translation coordinator.

If you are interested in future KT training opportunities, sign up for our e-newsletter Connections to stay up to date on the latest MSFHR news and program announcements.


// November 21, 2014
 MSFHR is proud to partner with Brain Canada, Genome BC, and the Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation on a $7.5M fund to seek solutions to Alzheimer’s disease.

Vancouver, BC – The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease affects men and women of all races, religions and socio-economic backgrounds.

Alzheimer's disease is a fatal, progressive and degenerative disease that destroys brain cells: it is not a normal part of aging and no one is immune. Alzheimer’s accounts for 64 per cent of all dementias in Canada and in BC affects up to 70,000 people.

In December 2013 four organizations came together to develop the British Columbia Alzheimer's Research Award Program. Brain Canada, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), Genome British Columbia (Genome BC), and The Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation (PARF) put together a $7.5 million fund to seek solutions to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Today the collaborators of the program are pleased to announce five awardees from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU). Their projects are described below.


Mirza Faisal Beg (SFU)

Project title: Novel Retinal Biomarkers for Alzheimer's Disease

Award: $1.49 million

Detecting the early stages of Alzheimer's in an individual's brain is difficult, as the changes in behaviour are subtle and can be managed by the patient.

Proper diagnosis is the key to successful treatment. Imaging can show that a brain is filled with a protein called amyloid, which accumulates beyond normal limits in patients with Alzheimer's. However, brain imaging exams for amyloid are expensive, can be invasive, and are not widely available.

Dr. Beg and his team will develop a new retina (eye) imaging device using laser light that can show the presence of amyloid in the retina. Their work could lead to an inexpensive, non-invasive and widely deployable retina exam that could be used to screen individuals on a regular basis to detect the earliest signs of Alzheimer's.

Team members: Ging-Yuek Hsiung, Marinko Sarunic, Joanne Matsubara, Alan Evans, Gregory Mori, Jinko Graham, Paul Mackenzie, Andrew Merkur, Ian Mackenzie


Neil Cashman (UBC)

Project title: Targeting Amyloid Propagation in Alzheimer Disease: Structures, Immunology & Extracellular Vesicle Topology

Award: $1.49 million

A treatment or prevention of Alzheimer's disease is a top priority for medical science. Small aggregates of the protein amyloid-beta (A-beta), called oligomers, have been identified as being the primary cause of brain cell death in Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Cashman and his research team will use their unique tools to learn how toxic A-beta oligomers spread from region to region in the brain causing disease.

This knowledge is criticalf for the spread of therapeutics to block the spread of neurodegeneration in the brain.

Team members: Cheryl Wellington, Ging-Yuek Hsiung, Weihong Song


James Johnson (UBC)

Project title: Locally produced brain insulin in memory & Alzheimer's disease: A multi-disciplinary approach to a key question

Award: $1.05 million

Population-level studies indicate that there are important links between Alzheimer's disease and obesity, altered fat metabolism, diabetes, and insulin.

Dr. Johnson and his team will test the hypothesis that insulin produced in the brain is a critical factor for the survival and function of brain cells in the context of both a genetic change that increases Alzheimer's risk and a diet that increases Alzheimer's risk.

His team's studies are likely impact our understanding of Alzheimer's disease, potentially revealing a new path towards a cure.

Team members: Paul Pavlidis, Shernaz Bamji


Christian Naus (UBC)

Project title: Validation of Connexins and Pannexins as a target for Alzheimer’s Disease

Award: $1.5 million

The brain contains billions of neurons. While most therapeutic approaches to Alzheimer’s target the neurons to prevent their death, this project will focus both on neurons and astrocytes to enhance their ability to protect neurons from death.

Dr. Naus and his team will target a unique set of membrane channels which modulate the extracellular environment in which the cells of the brain must function.

The outcome of these studies will be the identification of unique new drugs which will not only directly target neurons but also enhance the astrocytes’ abilities to protect neurons that are vulnerable to degeneration in Alzheimer’s.

Team members: Weihong Song, Juan Saez, Christian Giaume, Luc Leybaert


David Vocadlo (SFU)

Project title: Preclinical development of a disease-modifying small molecule therapy for Alzheimer's Disease

Award: $1.5 million

The two pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease are protein aggregates deposited in the brain that are known as tangles and plaques.

Dr. Vocadlo and his team recently pioneered a new potential approach that has been shown to block Alzheimer disease progression in the lab by blocking the toxicity of certain peptides and proteins.

The multidisciplinary team now aims to address the key remaining challenges that would clear the way for a promising new therapeutic target to advance to the clinic. These findings will enable the rapid advance of these optimized molecules into formal toxicology studies and downstream trials.

Team members: Gideon Davies, Sharon Gorski, Leonard Foster, Cheng-Xin Gong, Ian Mackenzie, Howard Feldman, Michael Silverman, Ging-Yuek Hsiung, Robert Britton, Cheryl Wellington


“Government is committed to supporting those living with dementia and recognizes the importance of research and working collaboratively in finding a cure. I congratulate the award program recipients and know their contributions will help make a difference in the lives of people with the disease as well as their family and friends.”

  • Terry Lake, BC Health Minister

“Alzheimer’s disease has a very real impact on families here in British Columbia and throughout Canada – from those who suffer from it, to those who support loved ones with the disease. Our Government is proud to support research projects that will improve our knowledge of neurological diseases, like Alzheimer’s. I would like to congratulate today’s B.C. research award recipients for taking a lead on this important research.”

  • Honourable James Moore, Minister Responsible for British Columbia, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, Government of Canada

“As someone who is living with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease my passion is advocating for myself and others while shattering stereotypes around the disease. These research projects are key to advancing therapies and diagnostic tools for people with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia: investment into research is critical to our struggle and offers us greater hope than before."

  • Jim Mann, Alzheimer Advocate

“Further to our announcement with the Hon. Rona Ambrose on September 12th, the funding we are announcing today showcases British Columbia’s important contributions to the Canadian and global effort to understand the brain and brain diseases. Brain Canada thanks Genome BC, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation, whose support is being matched by the Government of Canada. This significant investment in Alzheimer research in BC is a testament to the success of the Canada Brain Research Fund public-private partnership model. The investment will bring hope to the nearly 15% of Canadians over the age of 65—or about 750,000—who are living with cognitive impairment including dementia, as well as to families and caregivers, who are devoting about 444 million unpaid hours per year.”

  • Inez Jabalpurwala, President and CEO, Brain Canada

“We are proud to have spearheaded the creation of this partnership with $1.5 million from the Government of British Columbia targeted to advance research into biological causes and therapeutic treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. The five teams that have been funded by this award represent the best researchers in this field in BC and their research projects hold the promise of great advances in our ability to understand and treat this devastating disease.”

  • Diane Finegood, President and CEO, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research

“Genome BC is investing in research that matters to British Columbians. With our aging population and the burden of dementia on the healthcare system this research is of vital importance with genomics playing a key role in discovery and management of the disease: the range of potential applications from these research projects covers the spectrum from diagnostic tools to disease triggers and treatments.”

  • Alan Winter, President and CEO, Genome BC

“This opportunity to invest in Alzheimer's disease research is extremely welcome particularly with the strong partnerships involved from British Columbia and Brain Canada. The application of research to making a difference to persons affected by this insidiously progressive neurodegenerative disorder is imperative and BC researchers will have an impact.”

  • B. Lynn Beattie, President, The Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation

About Brain Canada

Brain Canada is a national non-profit organization that enables and supports excellent, innovative, paradigm-changing brain research in Canada.  For more than one decade, Brain Canada has made the case for the brain as a single, complex system with commonalities across the range of neurological disorders, mental illnesses and addictions, brain and spinal cord injuries.  Looking at the brain as one system has underscored the need for increased collaboration across disciplines and institutions, and a smarter way to invest in brain research that is focused on outcomes that will benefit patients and families. www.braincanada.ca

The Canada Brain Research Fund is a public-private partnership designed to encourage Canadians to increase their support of brain research, and maximize the impact and efficiency of those investments. Brain Canada has committed to raising $100 million from private and non-governmental sources, which will be matched by government on a 1:1 basis. The Fund was announced in federal budget 2011, which proposed to “allocate up to $100 million to establish the Canada Brain Research Fund, which will support the very best Canadian neuroscience, fostering collaborative research and accelerating the pace of discovery, in order to improve the health and quality of life of Canadians who suffer from brain disorders.”

About Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research

The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research empowers British Columbia’s (BC) best and brightest health researchers to pursue world-class innovation and stretch the bounds of what health research can achieve. Since its inception in 2001, MSFHR has received over $392 million from government to bolster BC’s capacity to develop new treatments and cures; help BC’s health system be more effective and responsive to emerging health threats; and keep BC’s health research sector globally competitive. The Foundation helps BC’s health research community discover solutions to our greatest health challenges; connect knowledge and action; and engage partners to address provincial priorities. Learn more at www.msfhr.org.

About Genome British Columbia

Genome British Columbia is a catalyst for the life sciences cluster on Canada’s West Coast, and manages a cumulative portfolio of over $660M in 211 research projects and science and technology platforms. Working with governments, academia and industry across sectors such as forestry, fisheries, agriculture, environment, bioenergy, mining and human health, the goal of the organization is to generate social and economic benefits for British Columbia and Canada. Genome BC is supported by the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada through Genome Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada and more than 300 international public and private co-funding partners.  www.genomebc.ca

About The Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation

The mission of The Pacific Alzheimer Research Foundation (PARF) is to eradicate Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.  PARF is endeavoring to do this as the result of a grant from the Government of British Columbia and donations from private individuals.  PARF will support scientists whose aim is to achieve this objective. PARF will assist universities, hospitals and other qualified British Columbia institutions to recruit investigators who will devote their efforts to eradicating Alzheimer disease and related dementias. www.parf.ca


Media Contact:
Jennifer Boon
Communications Specialist, Genome BC
Phone: 778-327-8374
Email: jboon@genomebc.ca