Harper Government Applauds One of the Largest Ever Public-Private Investments in Health Research

The Chagnon Family and the Azrieli Foundation commit $46 million to Support Canadian Brain Research

OTTAWA, Dec. 21, 2012 /CNW/ - Today the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, are pleased to congratulate the Chagnon Family and the Azrieli Foundation for partnering with Brain Canada and the Government of Canada, through the Canada Brain Research Fund, by making major donations to support neuroscience research. Today's commitments will total $46 million in new funding.  These will be among the largest public-private investments ever made in Canada towards critically important disease areas.

"We recognize that millions of Canadians and their families are affected by brain disease and disorders," said Minister Aglukkaq. "The donations from the Chagnon Family and the Azrieli Foundation will increase our understanding of the brain and of brain disease, and help lead to new innovative brain research."

Donations matched

The Brain Canada Foundation's public-private funding model matches donations dollar-for-dollar from private donors with federal funds provided through the Canada Brain Research Fund, effectively doubling the investment.

"These commitments by the Chagnon Family and the Azrieli Foundation provide tangible evidence that the approach outlined in Economic Action Plan 2011 is already delivering results," said Minister Flaherty. "By matching financial contributions like these, we will advance Canadian neuroscience research on a range of neurological diseases, brain injuries and mental illnesses for the long-term benefit of Canadians while ensuring tax dollars have maximum impact."

"We are delighted that, since the launch of the Canada Brain Research Fund in May 2012, two visionary philanthropists have stepped forward and validated the public-private model and Brain Canada's research program," said Rupert Duchesne, Chair of Brain Canada.  "Brain Canada is committed to working closely with donors to build programs in neuroscience that are aimed at bringing the best minds together to focus on outcomes that will benefit people. We look forward to other philanthropists and organizations participating in this opportunity to double their donations while supporting world-class research on the brain."

Chagnon Family rewards "outside-the-box" thinking

With an investment of $25 million over five years - half from the Chagnon Family and matched through the Brain Canada Foundation's public-private funding model; and additional funding of $12.5 million by the Chagnon Family over another five years, the Chagnon Family's initiative, Interventions for Prevention of Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders, will fund multidisciplinary teams of health researchers and professionals that propose original, promising and transformative intervention research that will improve the prevention of Alzheimer disease and related disorders (ADRD). This will be the largest investment in interventions for prevention of ADRD ever made in this country and sets forth a challenge to fast-track a quantum leap in the field. This initiative will reward "outside-the-box" ideas by supporting research that is truly innovative and may challenge standard paradigms.

"My children and I are concerned about the rise in cases of Alzheimer Disease in an aging population and, since we have been directly affected by this disease, we understand the impact on families and the importance of finding preventative measures to counter this disease," said M. André Chagnon of the Chagnon family.

The Azrieli Foundation's commitment: bridging the gap between research and treatment

With a total investment of $8.5 million over five years, half from the Azrieli Foundation and half matched through the Brain Canada Foundation's public-private funding model -- the Azrieli Foundation's initiative, The Azrieli Neurodevelopmental Research Program, will support excellent systems and translational research in the area of neurodevelopmental disorders, with a special focus on Fragile X syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorders. The ultimate goal of this initiative - the largest of its kind ever in Canada - is to develop new diagnostics, treatment and prevention strategies for neurodevelopmental disorders, to reduce their economic and social burden on Canadians, and to improve the quality of life for those affected by neurodevelopmental disorders and their families.

"There has never been a more exciting time to explore, understand and treat neurodevelopmental disorders," said Dr. Naomi Azrieli, Chair and CEO of the Azrieli Foundation. "The tools now available offer an exceptional opportunity to understand the brain as a whole system, and to identify targets and develop and test novel therapies that could revolutionize treatment. We are confident that this unprecedented investment will encourage the best scientists to come together in multidisciplinary teams and, through innovative work, close the gap between discoveries made in the research lab and clinical treatments."

The Brain Canada Foundation brings together teams of scientists specializing in different disciplines to identify common mechanisms for the repair, restructuring, remodelling and recovery of brain functions, and to translate this knowledge into brain repair and recovery techniques that can apply to many different diseases and disorders of the brain and nervous system.

Through collaboration between the Government of Canada and the Brain Canada Foundation, private and non-governmental donations to support brain research will be matched dollar-for-dollar with federal funds, up to $100 million.

Brain Canada is a registered charity, headquartered in Montreal, and the only national non-profit organization devoted to supporting all neuroscience research. Since it was established in 1999, Brain Canada has developed a successful track record in supporting research to advance knowledge and the treatment of brain disorders.

About the Chagnon Family and the Azrieli Foundation

The Chagnon Family is committed to supporting innovative research projects to help prevent the onslaught of Alzheimer disease on the population

The Azrieli Foundation's mission is to support and operate a range of initiatives in various fields, including: scientific and medical research; the promotion of excellence in education and access to education; tolerance and Holocaust education; the advancement of excellence in architecture and the arts. For more information go to: www.azrielifoundation.org.

Details about both initiatives are found on Brain Canada's website:
www.braincanada.ca 

Également disponible en français

SOURCE: Health Canada

For further information:

Media Enquiries:     
Health Canada
(613) 957-2983

Cailin Rodgers
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health
(613) 957-0200

Public Enquiries:
(613) 957-2991
1-866 225-0709

Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at
www.healthcanada.gc.ca/media