Canadian Government Invests Millions into Stem Cell Research

Stem cell research is an extremely hot topic at the moment; they have the potential to treat patients with all sorts of ailments, such as spinal cord injuries, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis. Recently, the Canadian government announced that they will grant a grand total of $12 million in government funding to subsidize the stem cell technology sector.

“For years, Canadian researchers have been leaders in regenerative medicine,” said The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science for the Government of Canada. “The funding announced today will support projects that encourage important partnerships between universities, hospitals and businesses so they may collaborate on bold, new stem cell technologies and health innovations that will improve the lives of Canadians. I am confident that, through the Stem Cell Network, Canadians are gaining a better understanding of this promising research, the results of which contribute to a strong and healthy population.”

“We are a nation of leaders and innovators; it is in our DNA,” said Dr. Michael Rudnicki, Scientific Director and CEO, Stem Cell Network. “The regenerative medicine research sector is fueled by stem cells and today it is at a tipping point, with the potential to see breakthroughs in our generation. I am thrilled that SCN is able to power the foundation of scientific excellence that exists within Canada’s universities, research hospitals and institutes.”

This funding will be used to support 31 projects and clinical trials being conducted across Canada. The $12 million will benefit 106 stem cell researchers and around 200 trainees that are involved in regenerative medicine studies.



Trump and Biotech, Part 2

A couple posts ago I wrote about some of the predictions that experts had about the biotechnology industry in the case of a Trump victory. On November 8th, he was elected. And while the outlook for the American people looks bleak, it appears as if pharmaceutical giants and big biotech companies have scored a victory with this election. 

According to CNN, Trump’s victory spells good news for healthcare investors, as many do not believe that Trump plans on attacking the issue of high drug prices- to editorialize a little bit here, I find this absolutely regrettable, and I am all for driving down drug prices so that the general populace can afford to buy often life-saving pills. Still, the large uncertainty over Trump’s strategy has largely faded away at this point, and it seems as if figures like “Pharma Bro” Martin Shrekli are again poised to profit from this election.

“The only thing that would negatively affect spending is if Trump had Medicare negotiate directly on lowering drug prices,” Bob Ehrlich, chairman-CEO of DTC Perspectives, told FiercePharma. While Ehrlich admitted that this was a possibility, he believes that Trump may lean toward the pharmaceutical industry’s side of the drug pricing debate.


Stem Cells a Potential Solution for Cartilage Repair

Many people suffer from jaw discomfort that arise from the gradual wearing down of cartilage- but current solutions only alleviate some of the systems, and do not directly repair the cartilage itself. Now, a recent study in Columbia University Medical Center in New York has revealed a promising solution for joint repair by using stem cell manipulation.

The researchers experimented on mice with TMJ (temporomandibular) degeneration, a breakdown of cartilage/bone in the lower jaw. Transplanting a single stem cell eventually led to the growth of new cartilage and bone, as even began to form a bone marrow niche. This, of course, is a well-known characteristic of stem cells- the ability to transform its typing and specialize into a myriad of body cell types.

The new alternative is not perfect. Common issues with stem cells include its potential rejection from the recipient’s immune system, as well as possibly introducing pathogens or inducing tumors. However, as more research is fueled into developments into the world of dental technology, more innovations are sure to come.