SOURCE: Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM)

Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM)

October 05, 2015 07:00 ET

Super Cells: The Power of Stem Cells Opens Today at MaRS

Award-Winning Exhibit to Teach Kids About Stem Cells

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - October 05, 2015) - A new science exhibit, created in both French and English, opens today at MaRS Discovery District in downtown Toronto. Super Cells: The Power of Stem Cells is a FREE, interactive, museum-quality exhibit that will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., October 5 to November 12, 2015. The exhibit is designed for children 4-14 and accompanying educational materials for schools are provided for ages 6-14, in both languages.

"When the Stem Cell Network requested our expertise and financial support in building this exhibit, we were pleased to collaborate on this very worthwhile initiative," says Dr. Peter Zandstra, CSO, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) and Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Bioengineering. "It's fitting to be teaching our young people about stem cells mere steps from the place where stem cells were discovered and we're hopeful this exhibit sparks their curiosity and passion for science -- especially in regenerative medicine."

Super Cells is an award-winning exhibit* that was produced by the Stem Cell Network and Musee Nature Sciences Sherbrooke, with assistance from stem cell and regenerative medicine translation centres in Canada, the U.S. and the UK. It opened in September 2014 in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and has since travelled to Newcastle, UK. After the Toronto stop, Super Cells will be on display in the United States (California), and then it returns to Canada in 2017, to the Musee du Fjord in Quebec.

Financial support and expertise were provided by CCRM, CIRM and the UK's Cell Therapy Catapult. EuroStemCell contributed content/oversight.

Special thanks to MaRS for providing exhibition space and to the University of Toronto's Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering and Science & Engineering Engagement for financially supporting the Toronto exhibition.

For more information, please see www.supercells.ca.

*Super Cells was awarded the 2015 CASCADE Award for Best Exhibit or Show -- Small Institution, from the Canadian Association of Science Centres.

About the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM)
CCRM, a Canadian not-for-profit organization funded by the Government of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence program and academic partners, supports the development of technologies that accelerate the commercialization of stem cell- and biomaterials-based technologies and therapies. A network of academics, industry and entrepreneurs, CCRM aims to translate scientific discoveries into marketable products for patients with specialized team funding and infrastructure.

CCRM sources and conducts diligence on intellectual property from around the globe, performing fee-for-service and development projects with academia and industry in the areas of cell reprogramming and engineering, cell manufacturing and biomaterials. CCRM has a fully resourced, 6,000 square foot development facility used to advance technologies for out-licensing or company creation. CCRM launched in Toronto's Discovery District on June 14, 2011 and is hosted by the University of Toronto.

Please see the enclosed Stem Cell Backgrounder for additional information.

Background to Super Cells exhibit, for media

Super Cells: The Power of Stem Cells guides children and young teens into the wondrous world of stem cell science through four high-tech and self-guiding interactive zones. Children and adults alike will be inspired as they learn that stem cells are the building blocks of the body, transforming to become the 200 types of specialized cells that make us into the unique individuals we are.

The ability of stem cells to specialize and self-renew, meaning repair and replace old or damaged cells, is why these cells play such an important role in regenerative medicine -- a form of cutting-edge science that harnesses the power of stem cells, biomaterials and molecules to repair, regenerate or replace diseased cells, tissues and organs. It has the promise to treat, manage and perhaps cure some of the most devastating and costly diseases in the world today.

In fact, without the self-renewing and specializing properties of stem cells, humans would cease to exist entirely since we could not last for more than three hours!

Super Cells: The Power of Stem Cells demonstrates the complex science behind stem cells by breaking the exhibit into four fun and unique areas that are relatable to the youngest exhibit-goer. Each zone includes animations and games that provide the user with a stimulating hands-on approach to learning.

It's by design that Super Cells is on display in Toronto. Toronto boasts the largest combined biomedical and biotechnology cluster in North America, with more than 11,000 principal investigators and technicians operating from nine teaching hospitals and 37 research institutions.(1) Close to half of Canadian stem cell researchers are based in Ontario, distinguishing the province as a prominent research hub.(2) Not to mention the fact transplantable stem cells were discovered at the Ontario Cancer institute in Toronto in 1961, by Drs. James Till and Ernest McCulloch.

With recently funded initiatives such as Medicine by Design at the University of Toronto, and the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, along with specialized groups like the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) and the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM), Toronto continues to strengthen its place as a leading stem cell and regenerative medicine hub.

By the numbers
Canada is a leader in the stem cell and regenerative medicine health care revolution. Here is how Canada ranks:

  • First amongst the G7 countries in R&D cost competitiveness;(3)
  • Top five globally in the number of scientists in stem cell research;(4)
  • Third in the world for percentage concentration of patent activity in regenerative medicine;(5) and,
  • Canadian papers are amongst the most highly cited in the field.(6)

(1) City of Toronto. Key Industry Sectors: Life Sciences. (2014). at http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=2284c1b5c62ca310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&vgnextchannel=401132d0b6d1e310VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

(2) International Biopharma Solutions Ltd. Canadian Asset Map for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. (2012). at https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/lsg-pdsv.nsf/vwapj/camscrmr_crcdcsmr_eng.pdf/$file/camscrmr_crcdcsmr_eng.pdf

(3) KPMG LLP. Competitive Alternatives: KPMG's Guide to International Business Location Costs. (2014). at http://www.competitivealternatives.com/reports/2014_compalt_report_vol1_en.pdf

(4) MaRS Advisory Services. Regenerative Medicine Industry Briefing. (2009). at http://www.marsdd.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/MaRSReport-Regenerative-Medicine.pdf

(5) Intellectual Property Office Patent Informatics Team. Regenerative Medicine: The Patent Landscape in 2011. (2011). at http://www.marsdd.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/MaRSReport-Regenerative-Medicine.pdf

(6) International Biopharma Solutions Ltd. Canadian Asset Map for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. (2012). at https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/lsg-pdsv.nsf/vwapj/camscrmr_crcdcsmr_eng.pdf/$file/camscrmr_crcdcsmr_eng.pdf

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