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.
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) are happening in Vancouver right now! These clinical trials have positioned British Columbia 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. Our goal is to position Regenerative Medicine 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).
This Initiative stems out of a Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) application on RM lead by Dr. Fabio Rossi, UBC.
In 2017, UBC established a Research Excellence Fund and recognized RM as nascent Cluster of Excellence. This RM cluster has generated a network of members of the BC academic community and positioned this group to capitalize on larger opportunities and initiatives.
In 2017, approximately $800M was set aside to fund INNOVATION CLUSTERS, which are 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 Faculties of Applied Science and Medicine at UBC established of the School of Biomedical Engineering (BME) in July 2017. The RM cluster (or a further evolved entity of the RM cluster) is well-positioned to establish itself as a research priority of the 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.
• 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.