Archived — Canadian asset map for stem cell and regenerative medicine

Relevant support facilities

6.1 Biobanks

6.1.1 Cord Blood Banks

There are two public cord blood banks in Canada: one in Montréal (Héma-Québec Cord Blood Bank) and the other one in Edmonton (Alberta Cord Blood Bank). There are also blood banks at several universities that have samples available for research purposes.Footnote 18 Furthermore, there are private blood banks in which parents can place their baby's blood in case of future medical problems. In addition, Canadian Blood Services are trying to establish a national cord blood bank that should be available by 2013.Footnote 19 The blood banks listed in Table 3 are those that may be accessed for scientific purposes. It should be noted that this list may not be all-inclusive.

Table 3. Publicly-Available Cord Blood Banks
Blood Bank Managed By URL
Alberta Cord Blood Bank University of Alberta
Héma-Québec Public Cord Blood Bank Héma-Québec
Registre des donneurs de cellules souches (moelle osseuse) (French only) Héma-Québec
Clinical-Research Cord Blood Bank of the McGill University Health Centre McGill University Health Centre
Toronto Cord Blood Program Inseption Biosciences, Mount Sinai Hospital

6.1.2 Other Biobanks

Other biobanks include those with tissue samples (generally from cancer patients) or pluripotent stem cell lines (both embryonic and induced pluripotent) available for research purposes. Table 4 lists some of those available in Canada. Again, this list is probably not all-inclusive but includes two stem cell line banks and 15 other tissue banks. Other potential biobanks are in the planning stage, e.g., a brain tumour tissue bank in Vancouver.Footnote 20

Table 4. Other Biobanks Available to Researchers
BioBank Location Information URL
Stem Cell Lines
HSCL) Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute (SCC-RI), Hamilton, ON Has more than 15 iPS cell lines for use in regenerative medicine research. 21
National Registry for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines Administered by CIHRFootnote 22 A list of all human embryonic stem cell lines derived under the auspices of an Institution that receives Canadian Agency funds. Includes 4 cell lines (2 each in Toronto and Calgary).
Other Biobanks
Brain Tumour Tissue Bank Lawson Research Institute, London, ON Collects and provides human brain tumour specimens and matching clinical data for neuro-oncology research in Canada and internationally.
Breast Tumour Bank BC Cancer Research Centre, Vancouver, BC This BC Cancer Agency's breast cancer tumour tissue repository (BREAST-TTR) comprises several important banks of breast tissues, contemporaneous as well as archival.
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) Tumor Bank Cross Cancer Institute, Edmonton; Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary; U. of Calgary; all in AB Collaboration between CBCF-Prairies/NWT Chapter and the Alberta Health Services, providing a comprehensive collection of cancer specimens with related clinical information for use by researchers.
Canadian Virtual Brain Tumour Bank Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto, ON Acts as a resource for researchers to provide them with information on the types of brain tumour tissue samples available and direct them to the tumour tissue banking sites holding these samples.
Manitoba Breast Tumor Bank Cancer Care Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB Provides anonymized, processed, and annotated cancer tissues and data for translational research.
Maritime Brain Tissue Bank Dalhousie University, NS Collects brain tissues and makes them available for researchers who are trying to better understand the causes of dementia.
National Cancer Institute of Canada Clinical Trials Group (NCIC CTG) Tissue Bank Queen's U., Kingston, ON Contains unique disease specific collections, housed, catalogued, and linked to an associated clinical dataset to support correlative science.
Ontario Tumour Bank Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Toronto, ON Focused on collection of tumour-related human biospecimens for use by academic and industry cancer researchers.
OvCaRe Gynaecologic Tissue Bank Vancouver General Hospital and BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver, BC Contains tumour and serum samples from over 1,100 consenting patients. In addition to providing research material for OvCaRe researchers, the Tumour Bank has contributed to 43 national and international research projects.
PROCURE Québec Prostate Cancer Biobank Mont-Royal, QC Collects and stores standardized high volumes of prostatic tissues, blood, urine, clinical information and socio-demographic data from men undergoing prostate cancer screening and surgery across QC and facilitates access to these resources.
Québec Leukemia Cell Bank Centre de recherche de l'Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montréal, QC Supports basic and clinical blood cancer research; provides an infrastructure and services aimed at facilitating the work of researchers in various fields, such as oncology, hematology and immunology.
RRCancer – Cancer Research Network Montreal, QC Provides tumour banks and other resources to Quebec researchers.
Tumour Bank Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, ON Collects, stores, and distributes tissues for the following body sites: breast, prostate, colorectal, gynecological. tbank_home
Tumour Tissue Repository BC Cancer Agency, The Deeley Research Centre, Victoria, BC Collects anonymized and appropriately consented biospecimens (tissues and blood) and associated clinical information for use by cancer translational researchers throughout Canada and worldwide.
Vancouver Prostate Centre Biorepository Vancouver Prostate Centre, Vancouver, BC Contains over 2,000 prostate cancer specimens (both fresh frozen and paraffin embedded), as well as an integrated database.

6.2 Other Relevant Facilities

As well as the biorepositories, there are lots of other facilities that may be relevant to stem cell researchers. These include at least three manufacturing/bioprocessing facilities as well as the other centres listed in Table 5.

Table 5. Support Facilities for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research
Name Description URL
Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Processes Research Unit, École polytechnique de Montréal, QC Develops bioprocesses to produce and purify high quality, valuable biomolecules.
Centre de Recherche de l'Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montreal, QC As well as the Québec Leukemia Cell Bank described in Table 4 and the CECT described below, the Centre de Recherche de l'Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont also offers other relevant research facilities such as flow cytometry and an animal supply facility.
Centre for Applied Genomics (TCAG), Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids), MaRS Centre, Toronto, ON Provides project support to investigators, including laboratory experimentation, statistical analysis and bioinformatics support. It also has a Biobanking and Databasing Facility that provides DNA extraction from lymphoblasts, fibroblasts and other cell types, archiving of white cell pellets, preparation and immortalization of cell lines, and comprehensive databasing and tracking of samples and/or cell lines within the facility.
Centre of Excellence for Cellular Therapy (CECT), Centre de Recherche de l'Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, Montreal, QC Opening in 2011, CECT will conduct leading-edge research on stem cells, the immune system and cancer; train young researchers; and bring together basic and clinical research. It will offer bioreactors, a high speed cell sorter, FACS analyzer, a level BSCL2 facility, and other state-of-the-art equipment.
LOEX (Experimental Organogenesis Laboratory–Laboratoire d'organogénèse expérimentale), University of Laval QC Works with epidermal culture and a self-assembly approach to tissue engineering. Activities cover four major areas: (1) Stem cells, differentiation and cellular interactions; (2) Cutaneous, cardiovascular, orthopedic, ophthalmologic, pulmonary and urinary tissue reconstruction; (3) Biological applications of reconstructed tissues (physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, toxicology, transplantation) and pre-clinical trials; (4) Clinical applications of cellular and tissue-based therapies.
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), Ottawa, ON With 230,000 square feet of dedicated basic and clinical research space, the OHRI houses good manufacturing practice laboratories, advanced imaging equipment, flow cytometry facilities, a clinical pharmacokinetics laboratory and other facilities. As a member of the Shared Core Facilities Initiative, OHRI makes many of its facilities available to the broader academic health research community in Ottawa.
Pharmaceutical Production Research Facility, Calgary, AB Commercializing media development and bioreactor protocols for the expansion of mammalian neural stem cells, as well as developing expansion protocols for pancreatic endocrine tissue and progenitor cells, mesenchymal stem cells, hepatic oval stem cells, embryonic stem cells and mammary stem cells.
Philip S. Orsino Cell Therapy Facility, Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, ON Footnote 23 A state-of-the-art facility offering Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) grade cell and tissue processing capabilities.
Ontario Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Facility, MaRS Centre, Toronto, ON Develops best practices in the technologies of reprogramming with a focus on the establishment and banking of patient-specific primary fibroblast cell lines, and the subsequent generation and characterization of iPS cells.
StemBase, Ottawa Health Research Institute, ON The largest stem cell gene expression database in the world containing information on genomic and proteomic analysis of stem cells.
Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON Conducts and supports genetic research involving generation of mutant mice, physiological phenotyping, behavioural analysis, imaging, pathology and cryopreservation for storage and distribution. Services include generation of novel ES cell lines, and expansion of ES cell clones.
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