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Canadian Patients to Benefit From Major Investment in Genomics and Precision Health Research

By January 29, 2018No Comments

Precision health promises to transform the way Canadians receive medical care. In the near future, doctors may be able to precisely diagnose symptoms based on a patient’s unique genetic makeup and offer personalized treatment that improves health outcomes and saves lives. Genomics research combined with data analytics will lead to better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, improve the health of Canadians, and make our health care system more effective.

To help make all that a reality, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, today announced two major genomics research investments in British Columbia during a visit to the BC Children’s Hospital. The total investment of $75.9 million comes from the federal and provincial governments, research institutions and private sector partners.

The Minister of Science made the national announcement today in Toronto, highlighting a $255-million investment in genomics research in Canada. This includes a $162-million investment in 15 genomics and precision health projects across Canada through Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and co-funding partners.

Many of the projects focus on paediatric medicine, a globally recognized Canadian research strength. Genomics-based precision health approaches to childhood brain cancer, asthma and arthritis enable earlier diagnoses and provide new opportunities to address root causes of such diseases rather than symptoms. This funding also supports a targeted initiative to address health challenges specific to Indigenous populations, improving diagnostic outcomes for Indigenous children that have genetic diseases and reducing inequities in access to advanced health care between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations.

The Government of Canada also announced a second major investment to support advanced genomics technology platforms across the country. These technology platforms support the development of improved technologies that underpin research advances in health, agriculture and natural resources. A total of $93 million is being invested in ten platforms nationwide, two of which are in British Columbia. The platforms are receiving $45 million in federal funding through Genome Canada and an additional $48 million from other sources.

These combined investments will provide researchers with access to cutting-edge tools, technologies and services while furthering the Government of Canada’s goal of strengthening and supporting the country’s scientific community.