CFI provides $18.5 M boost to research on neuromuscular diseases, cancer-fighting viruses, the power of light and radioactive atoms
The Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) has awarded $18.5 million in funding to support cutting-edge research led by four teams from the University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Hospital, including two from the Faculty of Medicine.
“The innovation made possible by this infrastructure support for our researchers will directly benefit Canadians’ health and well-being,” said Sylvain Charbonneau, interim vice-president, research, University of Ottawa. “I want to thank the CFI for their continued support and look forward to the exciting potential outcomes of the four projects.”
Projects receiving funding include two from the Faculty of Medicine:
World-class hub for neuromuscular therapies
Rashmi Kothary, Faculty of Medicine and the Ottawa Hospital
Already home to one of the world’s largest centres for neuromuscular disease research, the University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Hospital will now also house the Ottawa Muscle and Nerve Initiative.
This comprehensive global innovation hub will help researchers systematically develop and assess preclinical models of neuromuscular disease to accelerate the development of therapeutic interventions that can readily be translated to patients.
“Neuromuscular diseases represent a broad group of more than 150 genetic and acquired disorders, the majority of which cause disability and premature death through progressive muscle wasting,” said Rashmi Kothary, who is leading this initiative with Bernard Jasmin, interim dean of the Faculty of Medicine. “This funding will help us build on recent breakthroughs in our understanding of neuromuscular diseases, design much-needed new therapies and evaluate them in patients.”
Cutting-edge consortium for virus-based therapies
John Bell, Faculty of Medicine and the Ottawa Hospital
John Bell will establish the Canadian Virus and Immunology Consortium (CVIC), to repurpose viruses to serve as platforms for the development of novel oncolytics (viruses that infect and kill cancer cells), anti-virals and vaccines and for applied manufacturing research.
CVIC’s commitment to advancing novel viroceuticals from discovery to human clinical research will advance commercial development of a variety of treatments for human illnesses, including cancer and infectious diseases.
“While most people think of viruses as bugs that make us sick, they are also extremely powerful tools that can be harnessed to prevent and treat disease,” said Bell. “Our goal is to establish Canada as a global leader in this field, from discovery to commercialization and manufacturing.”