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PHSA researchers awarded over $54-million for genomics and precision health projects

PHSA researchers led the way in funding success from the Government of Canada’s latest announcement, reflecting our strength as a leader in academic health science research across the nation.
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2017 Large-Scale Applied Research Project competition recipients from B.C.

​On January 23, the Government of Canada, in partnership with Genome Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and co-funding partners, announced a $255-million investment to support genomics, precision health projects and advanced genomics technology platforms across the country through two national funding initiatives.  

The 2017 Large-Scale Applied Research Project (LSARP) competition supports precision health projects that promise to transform the way Canadians receive medical care. Precision health uses a patient’s unique genetic makeup to identify new ways to prevent disease, improve diagnosis and deliver targeted treatment.

Of the 15 projects selected for $162-million in funding across the country, six projects are based in B.C., with five projects being led by staff from BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute (BCCHRI) and BC Cancer. These projects aim to: 

  • improve genetic testing and care for Indigenous children in partnership with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples (BCCHRI investigators - Laura Arbour and Wyeth Wasserman)
  • develop new approaches to diagnose and prevent asthma (Key BCCHRI investigators: Stuart Turvey and Michael Kobor)
  • use genomic technology to prevent dangerous drug reactions in young cancer patients (Key BCCHRI investigators: Bruce C. Carleton, Rod Rassekh and Colin J. Ross )
  • support families undergoing whole genome sequencing with specialized care provided by genetic counsellors (Key BCCHRI investigators: Alison Elliott and Jehannine Austin)
  • develop novel tests for lymphoma patients who relapse to improve patient management and outcomes (Key BC Cancer investigators Christian Steidl, Marco Marra and David Scott)
Two studies operating out of Ontario and Quebec being co-led by PHSA researchers from BC Children’s Hospital will provide: 

  • access to state-of-the-art genomic sequencing to improve diagnosis of unexplained, rare diseases (key BCCHRI Investigators: Clara van Karnebeek and Anna Lehman)
  • support the use of a NIPS, a more reliable way to screen for certain genetic disorders in pregnancy, to give expectant families important health information earlier and at no cost (key BCCHRI Investigator: Sylvie Langlois)
BC Cancer's Genome Sciences Centre (GSC) Genomics Technology Platform was also selected as one of two platforms in B.C. to receive part of $93-million in funding for the 2016 Genomics Technology Platform competition. $9.6-million will be used to expand GSC personnel and service offerings via new technology development, assessment, data processing and bioinformatics analysis. 

The funds will also enable development of a bioinformatics virtual machine to provide researchers with the computational tools they need to interact with, visualize and analyze data, and allow the Genome Sciences Centre to grow its capacity for genomics services through their collaborative partnership with University of British Columbia. 

“These are all terrific projects that will help to define the clinical pathways for implementing genomics into clinical care and are indicative of our ongoing commitment to improving the health outcomes for Canadians through innovation and quality research. The degree of success for PHSA and BC researchers is unprecedented. It really is an amazing accomplishment which reflects excellence and coordination of all the winning factors: great science, great support from Genome BC, foundations, other funders, PHSA and our clinical partners,” says Ellen Chesney, PHSA chief administrative officer of research.

Congratulations to all PHSA researchers on these impressive results!

accomplishments; BC Children's Hospital Research Institute; BC Cancer Agency; Awards & Grants
Research
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