Canadian Gene Cure Foundation

Canadian Gene Cure Foundation

August 08, 2006 05:00 ET

Canadian Gene Cure Foundation: University of Montreal Scientist Receives Research Grant Award for Rare Genetic Kidney Disorder

Jeans for Genes Day unveils new website and branding for 2006 campaign

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 8, 2006) - The Canadian Gene Cure Foundation (CGCF) today announced a grant of $65,000 to University of Montreal researcher Dr. Daniel Bichet. The award will help Dr. Bichet continue his research to find a cure for nephrogenic diabetes insipidus (NDI) - a rare and inherited genetic kidney disorder that leaves young children suffering from chronic dehydration and in danger of dying.

NDI is a particularly insidious disease as the kidney is unable to respond to the antidiuretic hormone, arginine vasopressin (AVP). Patients with NDI are unable to absorb the proper amount of water needed to live and must battle chronic thirst and life-threatening dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. If undiagnosed, the severe bouts of dehydration can also lead to mental retardation. Many of these children must also adhere to a very low-sodium diet and other dietary restrictions which often makes it difficult for them to receive the adequate vitamins and minerals needed to grow properly.

Ninety percent of the cases of NDI are X-linked and adversely affect male children, it is estimated that for every million males born, four are likely to inherit X-linked NDI. Females who carry the gene are not as severely affected as males but have a 50 percent chance of passing on the gene to their offspring.

"Early detection through genetic testing is one of the most important tools available to manage NDI. Early prenatal carrier detection by genetic testing allows us to treat the affected infant early which can help prevent the damaging effects of severe dehydration," said Dr. Bichet, Professor of Medicine and Physiology, University of Montreal. Dr. Bichet's research currently targets the V2 receptor and its role in causing the disease and offers free testing for families affected by these types of hereditary diseases at his research facilities in Montreal.

"We are particularly fortunate to have a community of scientists and researchers of such exceptional calibre working in Canada. The importance of genetic disease research cannot be overemphasized," said Rob Abbott, CEO of the Canadian Gene Cure Foundation. "Today we have unprecedented opportunities to reduce the burden of inherited disease by funding world-class researchers like Dr. Bichet who are at the forefront of genetic research and are deeply committed to finding better treatments and cures for children."

The CGCF also announced today the launch of the new Jeans for Genes Day® (JFGD) website (www.jeansforgenes.ca) and branding. The new website, logo and tag line "Wear the Button. Make a Statement" was created by ad agency Y&R, a JFGD partner. After eight highly successful campaigns, the refreshed look will help JFGD continue to evolve into a dynamic charity that helps raise awareness and funds for genetic diseases that affect children.

Last year the JFGD campaign raised an unprecedented $300,000. This year, Jeans for Genes Day® will take place on October 12, 2006 with a target goal to raise $500,000 with its corporate partner Bootlegger. By making a minimum $5 donation (in person or online www.jeansforgenes.ca) in return for a Jeans for Genes Day® button, individuals then wear jeans to work on Jeans for Genes Day®, and support research into genetic diseases. One of the greatest challenges facing the CGCF is making Canadians aware of the true impact of genetic diseases. Three out of five Canadians will be affected by a genetic disease which underscores the urgent need for ongoing funding for research.

About the Canadian Gene Cure Foundation and Jeans for Genes Day®:

The Canadian Gene Cure Foundation is a registered Canadian charitable organization, formed in 1999 to raise much-needed funds for medical genetics research in Canada. Since 1999, the Foundation has been organizing Jeans for Genes Day®, a national one-day event. On Jeans for Genes Day® individuals within companies, schools, universities and hospitals wear their jeans and receive a distinctive denim button in return for a minimum $5 donation. This year, buttons will be available to the general public through all Bootlegger, Pharmasave and Purdy's Chocolate stores across Canada. One hundred percent of the money raised will fund research to find cures and treatments for genetic diseases that affect children, such as Cystic Fibrosis, Progeria, Juvenile Diabetes, Diabetes, Muscular Dystrophy, Tay-Sachs Disease and Epilepsy, to name only a few.

For further grant information or to arrange an interview with Dr. Bichet contact:

Jill Batie, Hill & Knowlton

(604) 692-4227, jill.batie@hillandknowlton.ca

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