New research into the role environmental factors have on human health and disease
MONTREAL, Oct. 22, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced Harper Government support for innovative research that will examine how environmental factors can alter the expression of our DNA and potentially affect our health. This research is being funded by the Government of Canada in partnership with Genome BC, Génome Québec, Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQ-S) and the Japan Science & Technology Agency (JST).
"Our Government is proud to support research that will help build a more complete picture of the causes of human illnesses, specifically chronic and complex diseases including cancer, diabetes and mental illness," said Minister Aglukkaq. "The goal of this research is to discover new treatments that improve the health of Canadians."
The Harper Government, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), has formed a new national initiative, the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium (CEEHRC), to support leading edge research on the role of DNA and environment interactions in human health and disease.
Today's announcement includes funding for epigenetics research under the CEEHRC. As a first phase, CIHR is funding an innovative grant program and an epigenomic platform centre program to help Canada's existing DNA experts , in partnership with Génome Québec and Genome BC. CIHR and its partners have also launched a second major phase of the initiative with two team grant programs focused on putting research discoveries into practice.
"The development of the Centre for Epigenomic Mapping Technologies in BC is a critical step in establishing a national network and building bioinformatics resources," said Dr. Brad Popovich, Chief Scientific Officer at Genome BC. "Epigenetic research will have a profound impact on advancing our understanding of human genomics and this Centre will play a critical role in this innovative area of human health."
"The new funding will make the Innovation Centre a focal point for epigenetics," said Marc LePage, President and Chief Executive Officer of Génome Québec. "Thanks to the talented team in place we can develop powerful, innovative tools that will usher in the new wave of genomics. The McGill University and Génome Québec Innovation Centre will help establish Canada as a global leader in health research. We are pleased to be one of the financial partners for the projects announced today."
"Epigenetics research is an area that has been referred to as the 'second revolution in genetics' and promises profound new insights into the role of the environment on human health and disease," said Dr. Alain Beaudet, CIHR President. "CIHR encourages the researchers funded under the epigenetics initiative to translate their findings into diagnostic tests, novel medical treatments, and health policy."
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada. www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca
The Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium (CEEHRC)
What is Epigenetics?
Epigenetics is a new field of research that explores how our environment can have a long-term impact on the activity of our genes. Environmental factors include exposure to chemical contaminants, dietary intake, social environments such as poverty, nurturing and stimulating families. Epigenetics provides a compelling model for how environmental influences throughout development can have life-long effect on our health. Through this new field, researchers will be able to build a more complete picture of the causes and potential cures of many human illnesses.
In 2011, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) established a national collaborative research funding strategy, known as the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium (CEEHRC) to coordinate epigenetics research in Canada. The CEEHRC Strategy's goal is to translate what we learn from the research to improve health and treatments. By supporting and applying epigenetics research on a national scale, CEEHRC hopes to harness the great potential for major breakthroughs in understanding the origins of health, as well as the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of many chronic and complex diseases.
The funding announced today will allow the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium (CEEHRC) to help achieve its goal of a national research program related to epigenetics.
- $41 million total over 6 years
- $28.5M from the Harper Government through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
- $8M from the Japan Science & Technology Agency
- $2.5M from Genome British Columbia
- $1.5M from Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé
- $400K from Génome Québec
SOURCE: Canadian Institutes of Health Research
For further information:
Cailin Rodgers, Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, 613-957-0200
David Coulombe, CIHR Media Relations, 613-941-4563
Éva Kammer, Public Relations Advisor, Génome Québec, 514-519-6910
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