Canadian Asset Map for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine: Executive Summary
Note: The data and information on this page are believed to be reliable and accurate up to January 2011, but are not guaranteed for completeness or accuracy.
- Regenerative medicine, particularly stem cells, has considerable potential to help in the treatment of numerous common and intractable diseases and conditions.
- Canada is a leader in stem cell research as these cells were first discovered by Canadian scientists; however, other countries have become more and more important in this field.
- Sixty-eight centres within or affiliated with 25 of Canada's universities are associated with stem cell and regenerative medicine research.
- From the sources available for this Asset Map (mainly federal government), more than $227.5 million was spent on stem cell and regenerative medicine research over the last five years (2006-07 to 2010-11), with Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Canada Foundation for Innovation as the largest funders (providing 36 percent and 23 percent of funds, respectively); since the data from these sources perhaps account for only 50 to 60 percent of overall funding, approximately $460 million to $560 million were probably spent on stem cell/ regenerative medicine research.
- The majority (65 percent) of funding went to Ontario, particular the University of Toronto and the University of Ottawa; Quebec received 15 percent, followed by British Columbia and Alberta (9 percent each).
- 416 researchers (in professor, associate professor, or similar positions) were identified as working in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine research; 47 percent of these are located in Ontario, 25 percent in Quebec, 13 percent in British Columbia and 9 percent in Alberta.
- In terms of universities, the University of Toronto (or its affiliated institutions) houses by far the greatest number of researchers (26 percent), followed by the University of British Columbia (12 percent), the University of Ottawa, McGill University and the Université de Montréal.
- Many of the 416 researchers are extremely well regarded, with 81 endowed Chairholders, 69 of whom are Canada Research Chairs; 20 researchers have made significant contributions to stem cell research and/or are particularly well funded and/or cited.
- The most important research organizations within or affiliated with the universities in terms of numbers of stem cell and regenerative medicine researchers and endowed Chairs are with the University of Toronto (Ontario Cancer Institute, Sick Kids, McEwen Centre, Sunnybrook), the University of British Columbia (Terry Fox Labs.), Laval University (LOEX) and the University of Ottawa (Sprott Centre).
- 73 percent of researchers work with stem cells of some type, while 19 percent work in tissue engineering; the others work in social sciences and humanities, bioprocessing, or various stem cell technologies such as high throughput sorting/analysis or cryopreservation.
- Within the stem cell research area, 54 percent of researchers work with tissue-specific stem cells, 16 percent with pluripotent stem cells and 10 percent with cancer stem cells; another 10 percent work with a number of stem cell types, with the majority working with both tissue-specific and pluripotent.
- Of those who work with pluripotent stem cells, 92 percent work with embryonic and 20 percent with induced pluripotent stem cells (some people work with both types of pluripotent stem cells).
- Within the tissue engineering field, at least 65 percent work with both scaffolds and cells, while 27 percent work just with biomaterials; the focus of the other researches was unspecified.
- In terms of disease focus, 25 percent work in two or more disease areas, 24 percent work just on cancer, and 14 percent on neurological, 12 percent on musculoskeletal, and 10 percent on cardiovascular conditions.
- Perhaps 100 researchers (24 percent) are involved in the translation of stem cell research from the laboratory to the clinic, with the Stem Cell Network so far devoting approximately $50 million to the funding of translational projects over the past 10 years.
- Canada has at least 4 public or university cord blood banks, 2 stem cell line banks, and 15 other relevant tissue banks that can be accessed by its regenerative medicine researchers; it also has at least 3 stem cell bioprocessing/ manufacturing facilities as well as other relevant shared infrastructure.
- Canada's stem cell and regenerative medicine researchers are members of at least 5 international, 6 national, and numerous provincial relevant networks.
- Overall, Canada remains among the world leaders in stem cell research.
We would like to thank everyone who participated in the creation of this document including:
- Sue Kingsley, President, International BioPharma Solutions Ltd.
- Richard Taylor, via International BioPharma Solutions Ltd.
- Helen Kingsley, via International BioPharma Solutions Ltd.
- Drew Lyall, Executive Director, Canadian Stem Cell Network and Board of Directors of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation and Canadian Stem Cell Consortium;
- Michael Rudnicki, Scientific Director, Canadian Stem Cell Network and Senior Scientist and Director of the Regenerative Medicine Program and the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute;
- Cindy Bell, Interim Executive Director, Cancer Stem Cell Consortium and Executive Vice President Corporate Development, Genome Canada;
- Gordon Keller, Canada Research Chair in Embryonic Stem Cell Biology, Director, McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University Health Network, University of Toronto;
- Juan Carlos Zúñiga-Pflücker, Director of the Advanced Regenerative Tissue Engineering Centre, University of Toronto;
- Jim Till, President, Cancer Stem Cell Consortium and Board of Directors of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation;
- Éric Cloutier, Policy Advisor, Life Sciences Industries Branch, Industry Sector, Industry Canada.
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