Work On Childhood Diseases Wins Award



    McGuinty Government Applauds Research Excellence At SickKids

    TORONTO, March 20 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    World-leading research into the prevention of childhood diseases is being
expanded at The Hospital For Sick Children.
    The prestigious Wellcome Trust, the world's second largest medical
research foundation, awarded The Centre for Applied Genomics
(http://www.tcag.ca/) a grant of $870,000.
    The centre will use the grant to expand its work on the Database of
Genomic Variants - known as "the Toronto Database" - a world-leading source of
genomics information.
    The data may influence how we diagnose, treat and better understand
diseases that affect both children and adults.

    QUOTES

    "One of our most important resources is our people - and our ability to
innovate. I congratulate Dr. Steve Scherer and his team of researchers at
SickKids for their groundbreaking work that they are doing right here in
Ontario, and the international recognition they are receiving for their
results," said Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson.
    "SickKids attracts research talent from around the world to join our
state-of-the-art programs and to develop new ways to diagnose and treat
diseases. I am so pleased that Wellcome Trust is recognizing our tremendous
talent and the innovative work we do in the field of genomics," said Mary Jo
Haddad, president and CEO, The Hospital for Sick Children.

    QUICK FACTS

    
    -   Researchers at SickKids participated in the consortium of scientists
        that created the first map of the human genome.
    -   Researchers at SickKids led the consortium of scientists that
        discovered the first genetic markers for autism.
    -   Since 2003, the Ministry of Research and Innovation has provided over
        $24 million to support research and commercialization activities at
        SickKids.

    LEARN MORE

    SickKids Hospital (http://www.sickkids.ca/)
    Wellcome Trust (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/)
    Centre for Applied Genomics (http://www.tcag.ca/)

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                                                                BACKGROUNDER
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              ONTARIO INNOVATION ATTRACTS INTERNATIONAL FUNDING
    

    A grant of $870,000 from the Wellcome Trust, the world's second largest
medical research foundation, will help researchers at The Centre for Applied
Genomics (TCAG) at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) develop new
diagnostic and therapeutic tools for children's diseases. The grant will be
shared with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory's European
Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI).
    The funding will expand operations of TCAG's Database of Genomic Variants
(DGV) - known as "the Toronto Database" - a world-leading source of genomics
information. Researchers will collect, organize and curate genome-wide
information, enhancing the translation of genetic information into new
diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic tools for the improved health of
children.

    Genomic Research

    Genomics is opening up new frontiers to explore and understand what
causes some people to be predisposed to disease. This information will lead to
better and faster tools to diagnose and treat disease.
    In 2004, scientists discovered that in humans, certain defined genomic
regions are present in multiple copies in some individuals and not others.
These copy number variable (CNV) regions have been shown to influence
susceptibility to disease and response to treatments. While some of these
variants are benign, others can make us predisposed to disease or even cause
disease.
    Advances in CNV detection will help scientists pinpoint the problem
regions and develop preventative or therapeutic treatments. Disease
prevention, faster detection and more accurate treatment means more lives are
saved. That's the goal of this research.

    
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For further information:

For further information: Sandra Watts, Minister's Office, (416)
314-7067; Perry Blocher, MRI Communications Branch, (416) 326-7717

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ONTARIO MINISTRY OF RESEARCH AND INNOVATION

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