October 07, 2014 07:00 ET

International Stem Cell Awareness Day on October 8-Regenerating Our Body Through Stem Cells: Canada at the Dawn of a Medical Revolution

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwired - Oct. 7, 2014) - A heart is reconstructed, a knee is repaired and an eye is regenerated. This is not science fiction. Discovery and clinical trials are occurring at a frantic pace, and researchers are anticipating therapies that seemed impossible not long ago.

To celebrate these scientific advances, October 8 has been designated International Stem Cell Awareness Day.

Medical revolution underway

Canadian researchers discovered stem cells over half a century ago. Since then, our researchers have achieved many major breakthroughs in this field. Today, many discoveries are at the stage of clinical trials and are closer to new treatments for patients with cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, eye diseases, neurological disorders, blood disorders and other health problems.

"Regenerative cell therapies have almost unlimited possibilities to transform the nature of medicine and have a major impact on our health system," said Dr. Denis Claude Roy, researcher and CEO of CellCAN, a new national network center for cell therapy and regenerative medicine regrouping the best Canadian investigators.

"With the advent of regenerative medicine, we are currently experiencing the initial stages of a large medical and biological revolution," said Dr. Armand Keating, Chair of the CellCAN' Steering Committee.

Such progress, however, has its share of issues. For example, in Canada, the recent case of Mai Duong, a 34 year-old young mother of Vietnamese origin who was seeking a compatible stem cell donor to survive leukemia, has highlighted the issue of recruitment of non-Caucasian donors.

Advanced facility

A few years ago, the use of fertilized embryos to obtain stem cells had raised considerable controversy. However, scientists have managed to avoid the problem by obtaining stem cells from individuals or creating them artificially.

This is indeed the role of five Canadian cell therapy centers that have come together under the CellCAN network. These facilities can perform advanced clinical trials for stem cell transplantation, tissue repair and immunotherapy. With the support of CellCAN, they are the essential bridge between research, clinical and commercial applications that enable regenerative medicine to meet the expectations it raises.

About CellCAN

CellCAN is a national network established to mobilize knowledge across the country in order to provide a well developed framework to the research and clinical developments related to stem cells. Funded by the Networks of Centers of Excellence (NCE) of the Government of Canada, its aims is to promote exchanges, cooperation, partnership development and innovation in regenerative medicine and cell therapy.

Researchers and experts on stem cells from CellCAN are available for interviews about regenerative medicine and cell therapy. Visit www.cellcan.com/en/key-investigators.php to see their profile.

Contact Information

  • Pascal Mailhot, Chief Operating Officer and
    Director of Public Relations
    Network of regenerative
    medicine and cell therapy CellCAN
    514 206-9737
    pmailhot@cellcan.com / www.cellcan.com