The Stem Cell Network (SCN), Canada’s national leader in stem cell and regenerative medicine research, announced today the funding of three new research projects that will contribute to the global response to COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, as part of the Government of Canada’s support of a national medical and research strategy to fight COVID-19.
SCN has committed $675,870 for the projects, that collectively have more than $778,000 in partner funding, a figure that is expected to increase in the coming days/weeks.The projects, which include one clinical trial and two research projects, are part of SCN’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Research Initiative that was launched on April 1, 2020. The fast-tracked funding initiative sought stem cell-based approaches from across the country and is a clear demonstration of how nimble and effective an on-the-ground scientific network can be. A total of 22 applications were received, and following peer review, three projects were recommended for funding for a one-year period ending April 2021. Two of the projects are being led at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute and one at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
“This initiative highlights the collaborative nature of SCN’s research community in coming together so quickly to respond, and further exemplifies a keen desire to help the world emerge from this pandemic. Canada should be proud of this community, which is keeping us at the forefront of global efforts,” said Dr. Michael Rudnicki, SCN’s CEO & Scientific Director. “The quality of the funded projects is extremely high and SCN anticipates that the results from this research will advance our search for a therapy and greatly enhance our understanding of the virus.”
SCN’s Board of Directors were impressed by the number of applications received and the quality of the applications recommended for funding. As such, the Board decided to increase the original funding envelope by $175,000. A key requirement for funding is that projects be able to start by mid-May, as the world races to better understand and respond to COVID-19.
The three projects are:
The Stem Cell Network also recently announced other initiatives in response to COVID-19, among them a statement against the marketing of unproven stem cell therapies to treat COVID-19, and a deadline extension for applications to its Round 2 Research Funding Program. In March of this year, SCN announced results of its Round 1 Research Funding Program, valued at $6.9 million, made possible through the support of the Government of Canada.