Regenerative Medicine Cluster Initiative in BC

About

Who we are

What is Regenerative Medicine?

Regenerative Medicine (RM) involves the regeneration or replacement of diseased cells and tissues using tools such as stem cells, engineered tissues, biomaterials, or molecules. RM research includes treatment of a wide variety of life threatening illnesses and chronic conditions such as diabetes, burns, spinal cord injury, heart disease, autoimmunity, multiple sclerosis, and cerebral palsy.

What is the RM Cluster Initiative?

Emerging Canadian-led clinical trials, including a first-in-the-world clinical trial of pluripotent stem cell derived insulin-secreting progenitors contained within a vascularized device is slated to happen in Vancouver in 2017, and has positioned BC at the forefront of RM research. We have launched this initiative to unite members of this research community and its stakeholders to capitalize on this timely and unique opportunity.

How the RM Cluster Initiative came to be

  • This Initiative stems out of a Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) application on RM lead by Fabio Rossi, UBC. 
  • Recently UBC established a Research Excellence Fund and has recognized RM as nascent Cluster of Excellence. This RM cluster will generate a network of members of the BC academic community and position this group to capitalize on larger opportunities and initiatives.
  • UBC has further indicated their support in this area with the pending (waiting Ministry approval) creation of the School of Biomedical Engineering. This RM cluster (or a further evolved entity of the RM cluster) is well-positioned to establish itself as a research priority of the proposed school. In addition, University of Victoria has also established a Biomedical Engineering Program whose students and graduates contribute to the RM community by working in local industry.
  • Parallel to these activities is the Federal Government’s “Innovation Agenda” http://www.budget.gc.ca/aceg-ccce/home-accueil-en.html. Approximately $800M has been set aside to fund innovation clusters, which are to be industry directed along with involvement of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and academia. Developing a well-organized local cluster will enable BC to contribute to a pan-Canadian RM proposal . 
  • The goal will be to position RM as an exemplar life science sector-specific cluster that Canada can lead in and that can prototype government recommendations for innovative cluster growth (i.e., training, scaling, local procurement, etc).

Goals of the RM Cluster Initiative

  • To assemble a highly networked and interactive community of BC scientists with research interests in RM.
  • To investigate and leverage opportunities for funding partnerships with industry, NGOs, National Regenerative Medicine Organizations, and various levels of government.
  • To established a pipeline from discovery to health and economic impacts for RM technologies in BC and position the BC RM cluster as a component of the national RM innovation agenda.
  • To increase public awareness and engagement of BC’s RM strengths.
  • To recruit and train the next generation of Canadian RM leaders in BC.

What the RM Cluster Initiative will do

This convergent research will accelerate options for devastating diseases, such as heart failure, neural degeneration, diabetes and autoimmunity. Our initiative will serve as a catalyst for the biotechnology sector important to the health and welfare of Canadians, foster interdisciplinary collaborations between academia and industry, and establish critical mass in this field.

Steering Committee

Fabio Rossi
Chair, University of British Columbia
Peter Zandstra
University of Toronto/University of British Columbia
Stephanie Willerth
University of Victoria
Bruce McManus
St. Paul’s Hospital/PROOF Centre
James Jaquith
Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)
Allen Eaves
STEMCELL Technologies
Andrew Booth
STEMCELL Technologies
Keith Humphries
BC Cancer Agency
Pamela Hoodless
BC Cancer Agency
Vikram Yadav
University of British Columbia
Francis Lynn
BC Children’s Hospital Research
David Granville
University of British Columbia
Jonathan Choy
Simon Fraser University

Our Partners

The development of a Regenerative Medicine Network in BC would not have become a reality without the huge commitment and active contribution from our sponsors and partners.