Canada- and California-led cancer stem cell collaboration welcomed by the Stem Cell Network

    OTTAWA, June 18 /CNW/ - The Stem Cell Network welcomes a new
international collaboration on cancer stem cell research to be led by Canada
and California, which was announced today by Canadian Health Minister Tony
Clement and California Institute of Regenerative Medicine President Alan
Trounson in San Diego. The Stem Cell Network is one of the founders of the
Cancer Stem Cell Consortium, the principal Canadian partner in the agreement,
and catalyzed the national approach to cancer stem cell research on which it
is based.
    "We are proud to support the formation of the Cancer Stem Cell
Consortium. Canadian scientists are without question world leaders in cancer
stem cell research and have played key roles in the founding of the
consortium," said Michael Rudnicki, Scientific Director of the Stem Cell
Network. "This agreement is a natural progression for stem cell research. It
will allow stem cell researchers to link the world's leading labs and
collectively tackle the most perplexing questions related to cancer
development and treatment."
    A Nature Immunology report found that of the 32 most important scientific
papers on stem cell science published between 1960 and 2000, 15 had been
principally authored by Canadians. A brief timeline of Canadian achievement,
specifically related to cancer stem cells, includes the following landmarks:

    1961  Stem cells discovered by James Till and Ernest McCulloch
    1994  John Dick identifies the first cancer stem cell
    2003  Cancer stem cells discovered in brain tumors by Peter Dirks
    2006  John Dick cures acute myeloid leukemia in the mouse by targeting
          leukemic stem cells

    "The commitment of $100 million dollars announced today by the Canadian
partners, offers the possibility to greatly accelerate the pace of work in the
field," said Drew Lyall, Executive Director of the Stem Cell Network. "We
welcome this announcement and will support our researchers as they engage with
their American counterparts."

    About the Stem Cell Network

    The Stem Cell Network is a non-profit corporation, established in 2001
and headquartered at the University of Ottawa. The Network brings together 80
leading scientists, clinicians, engineers, and ethicists from universities and
hospitals across Canada with the mandate act as a catalyst for enabling
translation of stem cell research into clinical applications, commercial
products and public policy. The Stem Cell Network is one of Canada's Networks
Centres of Excellence, funded through industry Canada and its three granting

For further information:

For further information: Lisa Willemse, Director of Communications, Stem
Cell Network, Tel: (613) 858-2067 or (613) 562-5376

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