Génome Canada

Génome Canada
Génome Québec

Génome Québec

December 20, 2006 11:00 ET

Canada's New Government Invests $200,000 for Genome Research to Control Clostridium Difficile

Genome Canada and Genome Quebec Involved in Project

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 20, 2006) - The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Industry together with Dr. Calvin Stiller, Chair of the Board of Directors of Genome Canada, and Mr. Paul L'Archeveque, President and CEO of Genome Quebec, today announced a large-scale genome research project to sequence multiple strains of the bacterium Clostridium difficile (C. difficile). The research will cost $388,625, to be funded equally by Genome Canada and Genome Quebec. In addition, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and partners are offering a post-doctoral fellowship to a scientist who will participate in the study.

Clostridium difficile-associated disease (CDAD) is a major problem in the health sector and an ongoing and serious concern throughout Canada. This 18-month research project will accomplish the complete genome sequencing of eight isolates of C. difficile. It will:

- measure genetic diversity within and between strains;

- construct catalogues for genes and proteins;

- search for other genes that might contribute to increased virulence and/or antimicrobial resistance; and

- begin to determine how different toxins and genes correlate with disease-causing ability.

"Today's announcement is wholly in keeping with the spirit of the objectives outlined in our recent economic plan, Advantage Canada. It solidifies the commitment of Canada's New Government to support research excellence, and to ensure that research findings are translated into socio-ecomonic outcomes for Canadians and concrete solutions that impove their health,"said Minister Bernier.

"This initiative represents the collaboration and investments of all stakeholders, including the federal and Quebec governments. Partnerships are essential, and it is vital that we continue with this approach. It is a tangible demonstration of the open federalism being practised by our government", he added.

"C. difficile has long been a sporadic low-level problem. However, more virulent strains have emerged in recent years and the incidence of disease has increased. We do not know what makes these new variants of the organism more agressive. The proposed genome sequencing studies will dramatically enhance our ability to understand their unusual virulence," said Dr. Stiller.

According to Paul L'Archeveque, President and CEO of Genome Quebec, there is no doubt that the interdisciplinary approach has again proven itself. "In addition to the very promising science advanced by Dr. Dewar, the beauty of this project lies in the relationship between many research efforts," said Mr. L'Archeveque. He added that Genome Quebec and Genome Canada are supporting these complementary efforts by contributing to this project, initiated by the Fonds de la recherche en sante du Quebec. "By promoting a multidisciplinary and concerted approach, we have successfully combined our efforts for the greatest benefit of the population," he added.

Ultimately, the project will allow Canadian and international researchers to develop better tests for C. difficile detection and diagnosis; describe factors that may influence virulence; and plan future experiments for identifying causative genes and their roles in pathogenesis. These are necessary steps toward devising new strategies for disease control and treatment.

"It may take time to develop therapy or preventative measures based on the information gained in our study. Still, this research will undoubtedly lead to more effective ways of identifying hypervirulent C. difficile strains," concluded Dr. Ken Dewar, the project's leader.

Genome Canada is a private, non-profit corporation, and the primary funding and information source relating to genomics and proteomics in Canada. Its principal goal is to enable Canada to become a world leader in genomics and proteomics research. Its mandate is to develop and implement a national strategy in genomics and proteomics research for the benefit of all Canadians. For this purpose, it has received $600 million in funding from the Canadian government and co-funding from other partners, allowing it to invest a total of $1.4 billion in 114 innovative research projects and technology platforms. To learn more about Genome Canada, please visit our Web site at www.genomecanada.ca.

Genome Quebec's mission is to mobilize the academic and industrial sectors in the area of genomics and proteomics research. This private, non-profit organization invests and manages more than $380 million in financial resources from the public and private sectors. Genome Quebec is currently managing projects in six main areas: human health, bioinformatics, ethics, the environment, forestry and agriculture. For more information about Genome Quebec and genomics, please visit the following Web site: www.genomequebec.com.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable Maxime Bernier
    Minister of Industry
    Isabelle Fontaine
    Genome Canada
    Claudine Renauld
    Vice-President, Communications and Public Affairs
    613-751-4460, ext. 129
    Genome Quebec
    Michel Leblanc
    Vice-President, Public Affairs and Communications