Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre Scientists Working to Alleviate Burden of Chronic Disease on Canadian Economy

    TORONTO, Sept. 2 /CNW/ - September marks Arthritis Month across Canada
and the Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre at the University Health
Network (UHN), has announced the creation of a UHN Biomarker Discovery Centre.
The Centre will have a specific focus supporting biobanking and biomarker
discovery in arthritis research that may bring us one step closer to finding a
cure for arthritis and related conditions.
    Biomarkers provide insight into predictors of disease and prognosis and
drug responsiveness. This will allow greater emphasis to be placed on
preventative medicine, individualized therapies and earlier treatment options
that may ease disease progression. Biomarkers may also provide targets for new
drug development.
    "Through on-going support and leading research, we believe we are closer
than ever to finding cures for these debilitating diseases," said Dr. Eleanor
Fish, director, Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre. "Our researchers are
committed to work focused on identifying disease predictors that are crucial
for early diagnosis and that may provide targets for drug development. Early
disease intervention could mean dramatically less deterioration for patients
and more cost effective treatments."
    Currently, with more reactive treatment options in place, the total
economic burden of musculoskeletal diseases in Canada is estimated at
$20.6 billion, with an additional strain of 2.7 million workdays lost each
year due to arthritis symptoms. Arthritis falls under the musculoskeletal
grouping and includes over 100 different conditions, such as osteoarthritis,
rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, lupus, ankylosing spondylitis, scleroderma
and gout. These conditions account for over 10 per cent of the total burden of
all illnesses in Canada, but only 1.3 per cent of attributed health science
research is dedicated to this area.
    This initiative is funded through the Canada Foundation for Innovation
and is part of UHN's recent award in the federally supported Research Hospital
Fund. The Centre's facilities will be located across UHN and will establish
Canada as a world leader in biomarker discovery.
    Over 4.5 million Canadians suffer from arthritis conditions, affecting
nearly twice as many women as men.

    About The Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre Foundation

    The Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre (AARC) Foundation raises
funds for arthritis and autoimmune disease research taking place in
laboratories and clinics across University Health Network. The Foundation is
dedicated to finding cures for the chronic illnesses in the arthritis family
and raising awareness about maintaining good musculoskeletal health.

    About University Health Network

    University Health Network consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western
and Princess Margaret Hospitals. The scope of research and complexity of cases
at University Health Network has made it a national and international source
for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based
research program in Canada, with major research in transplantation,
cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases,
and genomic medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital
affiliated with the University of Toronto.

For further information:

For further information: For media interviews, please contact Gehna
Singh, Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre Foundation, Tel: (416)
340-4800 ext. 6365,,

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