Canada, California join hands on stem cell research

June 20th, 2008 - 10:53 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Arnold Schwarzenegger
By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, June 20 (IANS) Canada and California, two world leaders in cancer stem cell research, have joined hands in research on understanding the role of cancer stem cells in the development of cancer. Making this announcement at an international convention in San Diego Thursday in the presence of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Canadian Health Minister Tony Clement said Toronto-based Cancer Stem Cell Consortium (CSCC), which coordinates with researchers in California, will get $100 million for joint cancer stem cells research.

The Cancer Stem Cell Consortium, which is part of the larger Canada-California Strategic Innovation Partnership, involves collaboration among universities, the private sector and government.

“I am proud to announce Canada will contribute more than $100 million to the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium, which will work with the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine in this exciting new partnership,” Clement was quoted as saying by the Canadian Institute Health Research in a press release.

Calling the agreement “historic”, Clement said, “Now we are working together across borders, bringing together the best minds from both countries with the goal of learning how to prevent and treat cancer for the benefit of all of our citizens.”

For his part, Governor Schwarzenegger said, “California is committed to being a leader in stem cell research, but no one state or nation should do this alone.

“Entering into collaborations such as this, which bring together leading medical research capabilities, have great potential in improving the lives of not only Californians, but people around the world.”

Under the three-year agreement, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium will jointly ‘explore collaborative approaches to evaluate, fund and monitor cancer stem cell research projects.’

“Canadian researchers have been at the forefront on stem cell research. By working together across borders and bringing together the top scientists from both countries to tackle cancer stem cell research, I believe we will be able to shorten the time to bring great improvements to the lives of those affected by cancer,” Clement said.

Under the joint project, Disease Team Awards will be given to support multi-disciplinary teams of scientists searching therapies.

Alan Trounson, president of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), said, “Coordinating our joint efforts in cancer stem cell research through collaborative programme with our colleagues in Canada will enhance the opportunities to contain and to prevent recurrence of certain cancers.”

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