Canadian Scientists Use Nobel Prize-Winning Technique for Disease Research



    North American Conditional Mouse Mutagenesis (NorCOMM) Targets Mouse
    Genes for Human Health

    WINNIPEG, Oct. 23 /CNW/ - Canadian scientists using a Nobel Prize-winning
technique with knockout mice has led to major discoveries and insights into
cancer, diabetes, obesity and neuro-degenerative diseases.
    The 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine was awarded to Mario R. Capecchi,
Oliver Smithies and Sir Martin J. Evans for their discoveries leading to gene
targeting, a powerful technique used for manipulating mouse genes. Scientists
involved with the North American Conditional Mouse Mutagenesis
(www.norcomm.org) project are using high throughput gene targeting for the
creation of a knockout mouse library. Medical researchers then use this
information to research any disease gene.
    "Our goal is to use gene targeting to create an internationally available
library of mouse embryonic stem cells from which a knockout mouse for any gene
will be immediately available to medical researchers worldwide," commented Dr.
Hicks, NorCOMM co-leader and Director of the Mammalian Functional Genomics
Centre at the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, a joint venture of
CancerCare Manitoba and the University of Manitoba. The project is co-lead by
Dr. Janet Rossant, Chief of Research/Director at the Hospital for Sick
Children Research Institute in Toronto.
    Working with international partners in Europe, the UK and the US, NorCOMM
researchers utilize gene targeting to introduce genetic changes into mouse
embryonic stem cells; the mice born from these embryos are bred to produce
offspring with altered genes used for medical research. NorCOMM is led by
scientists in collaboration with Genome Prairie and is supported by a major
fund from Genome Canada.
    "The exciting part about the NorCOMM project is that it is only the first
step. The resource being created today will grow, evolve and continue to serve
scientists for many years," said Jerome Konecsni, President and CEO of Genome
Prairie.

    About Genome Prairie

    Genome Prairie is one of six genomics centers that form the Genome Canada
network, Genome Prairie is a not-for-profit organization supporting and
managing large-scale genomics and proteomics research projects in the
provinces of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Focused applications include
agriculture, animal health, and human health. www.genomeprairie.ca





For further information:

For further information: Carol Reynolds, Genome Prairie, Telephone:
(306) 668-3574, Cellular: (306) 241-9033, creynolds@genomeprairie.ca

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