B.C.-Led PROOF Centre for Excellence Partners with Pfizer Canada in Fight Against Vital Organ Failure

    Researchers focus on the identification of biomarkers to predict and
    accelerate diagnosis of heart, lung and kidney failure

    VANCOUVER, Feb. 16 /CNW/ - Pfizer Canada and the PROOF (PRevention Of
Organ Failure) Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research
announced today they are teaming up in the fight against vital organ failure
(heart, lung and kidney). In Canada, the personal, societal and economic
consequences of this type of organ failure cost our health care system more
than $35 billion a year. This serious health issue is fueled by the parallel
epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and smoking-related conditions.
    Pfizer Canada will contribute $1 million to the PROOF Centre to fund
research into biomarkers - biological molecules that indicate disease - which
are at the core of the march towards more personalized health care. The
funding will go towards new biomarker initiatives in which the PROOF Centre
will be engaging in shortly, and eventually will expand to cover relevant
projects that are led by the Centre focusing on the translation of biomarkers
into clinical practice.
    "Efforts to create an environment conducive to research and development
investments are continuing in British Columbia," says Paul Levesque, President
of Pfizer Canada. "Pfizer is proud to contribute to the research capacity in
British Columbia by supporting this PROOF initiative, which is being led by an
exceptional group of scientists and clinicians. We believe that to be truly
healthy it takes more than medication and we share PROOF's goal: to develop
personalized tools that could one day more effectively prevent, diagnose and
treat patients suffering from heart, lung and kidney failure."
    The PROOF Centre, hosted by the University of British Columbia, was one
of 11 Centres of Excellence for Commercialization and Research announced by
the Government of Canada in February 2008 when it received nearly $15 million
in federal funding through the Networks of Centres of Excellence
(www.nce.gc.ca/cecrs_e.htm). The PROOF Centre's goal is to move away from
drug-only strategies towards biomarker-guided prevention and effective early
detection of primary diseases that cause organ failure. By speeding up the
commercialization process, the PROOF Centre hopes to make their discoveries
part of daily medical practice as quickly as possible.
    "The PROOF Centre is committed to leading the way in personalized
healthcare for the reduction of heart, lung and kidney disease," said Dr.
Bruce McManus, Director. "This additional funding from Pfizer Canada will help
us greatly to make significant strides."


    -   Cardiovascular disease (heart disease, diseases of the blood vessels
        and stroke) accounts for the death of more Canadians than any other
        disease. Every 7 minutes in Canada, someone dies from heart disease
        or stroke.(1)
    -   In 2004 cardiovascular disease accounted for: 32% of all deaths in
        Canada (72,338 deaths).(2)
    -   Heart disease and stroke costs the Canadian economy more than $18
        billion every year in physician services, hospital costs, lost wages
        and decreased productivity.(3)
    -   Globally, cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death
        and is projected to remain so. An estimated 17.5 million people died
        from cardiovascular disease in 2005, representing 30 % of all global
    -   In 2006, there were 33,832 Canadians on renal replacement therapy and
        this number is expected to double over the next 10 years. Each day,
        an average of 14 Canadians learns that their kidneys have failed. Of
        the 4,195 Canadians on the waiting list for a transplant as of
        December 31, 2007, 2,963 (71%) were waiting for a kidney.(5)
    -   Respiratory diseases exert a significant economic impact on the
        Canadian health care system. Presently, almost 6.5% of total health
        care costs were related to respiratory diseases (not including lung
        cancer). This accounts for nearly $5.70 billion in direct (visible)
        costs of health care, such as for hospitalization, physician visits,
        research and drugs, as well as an additional $6.72 billion for less
        visible (indirect) expenses associated with disability and

    About PROOF Centre

    The PROOF Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research is
supported by the Government of Canada through a Networks of Centres of
Excellence program. The PROOF Centre's host institution is the University of
British Columbia. The PROOF Centre is led by Drs. Bruce McManus (Director),
George Schreiner (Chair of the Board), and Dr. Michael Hayden, (Chair,
Translational Advisory Committee). The PROOF Centre discovers, develops and
commercializes biological markers (biomarkers) to predict, diagnose and manage
heart, lung and kidney failure. The PROOF Centre takes a unique,
multi-disciplinary approach, serving as a hub for industry, academia, and
government as well as for patients and the public. The PROOF Centre's focus on
biomarkers it is driven by a desire to lead in the pursuit of "personalized
medicine" - giving each individual the right treatment, at the right time, in
the right amount - which will reduce the enormous burden of organ failure
around the world.

    About Pfizer Canada

    Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world's
leading pharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and
markets prescription medicines for humans and animals. Pfizer Canada is a
leader in Canadian healthcare research, investing more than $137 million in
research and development activities, contributions and partnerships in 2007.
The company has invested more than $1 billion in R&D since 2000. Pfizer
Canada's commitment to helping Canadians live happier, healthier and longer
lives extends beyond medication. To learn more about Pfizer Canada's More than
Medication philosophy and programs, visit www.morethanmedication.ca.

    (1) Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada: www.heartandstroke.ca, January
    (2) Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada: www.heartandstroke.ca, January
    (3) Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada: www.heartandstroke.ca, January
    (4) World Health Organization: www.who.int, January 2009
    (5) The Kidney Foundation: www.kidney.ca, January 2009
    (6) Public Health Agency of Canada, Life and Breath: Respiratory Disease
        in Canada: www.publichealth.gc.ca, January 2009

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview please contact:
Jenny Boon, PROOF Centre of Excellence, (604) 806-9853, jboon@mrl.ubc.ca;
Julie-Catherine Racine, Pfizer Canada, (514) 693-4602,

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