regenerative medicine

Engineering stem cells to improve adaptive immune function

Thousands of Canadians receive bone marrow transplants each year to treat cancer and immune disease. Unfortunately, not only is this treatment dangerous, it is only effective for a small subset of cancers and immune disorders. Our goal is to provide a safer alternative to marrow transplantation that can be applied to a broad set of indications.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2019

Generation of fully mature, functional islet-like organoids from human pluripotent stem cells in vitro

Insulin is a hormone that is crucial for maintaining normal blood sugar levels and is produced by beta-cells in the pancreas. If the amount of beta-cells is insufficient, or beta-cells stop making insulin, blood sugar levels start to rise which can lead to diabetes. Islet transplantation can supply the necessary amount of beta-cells and achieve superior glucose control over exogenous insulin injection, but is extremely limited by its reliance on organ donations. As a result, only a small fraction of people afflicted with diabetes currently benefit from these cell replacement therapies.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2019

Generating tissue capable of forming blood-progenitor cells at clinical scales

Chronic diseases consume 67% of direct healthcare costs in Canada. Regenerative medicine (RM) is a powerful strategy to address chronic diseases. The next generation of RM therapeutics targets development of living cells and tissues to treat specific indications. Availability of stable progenitor stem cell bio-banks that can be differentiated to desired phenotypes is a crucial pre-requisite.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2019

Effects of cellular origin on the development of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the third leading cause of cancer related deaths mostly due to the absence of symptoms as the cancer develops. This leads to diagnosis after the tumor has already become widely invasive and cannot be surgically removed. Unfortunately, surgical removal of early stage tumors is the most effective treatment option and other treatments, such as chemotherapy, are woefully ineffective.

Thus, there are two major fronts where research could improve the outcomes of pancreatic cancer patients:

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2019

Uncovering novel regulators of beta cell genesis, growth and function

To date, the only successful approach for curing type 1 diabetes is to replace the insulin-producing beta cells that have been destroyed by the disease. Pancreas- and islet-cell transplantation are promising therapeutic strategies; however, scarcity of transplantable tissue has limited their widespread use. One way to produce enough beta cells to cure type 1 diabetes is to determine how the cells develop normally within the embryo and apply this knowledge to the regeneration of beta cells in the culture dish or directly in people with diabetes.

Primary Investigator: 
Award Type: 
Year: 
2012
Health Category: 
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