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Government provides $11 million for health research

By Contributor
September 18th, 2014

Patients and researchers will benefit from a new $11-million grant from the provincial government to the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR).

“This funding will help the foundation maintain the global competitiveness of B.C.’s health-research sector,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research helps support solutions to our more-pressing health problems by funding the best and brightest researchers and spearheading significant projects to address health-system priorities.”

In July, the foundation awarded 32 highly ranked leaders in health research with MSFHR Scholar Awards totalling up to $11.2 million over five years. These awards, a flagship program for the MSFHR, have a proven impact on health research in B.C. Since 2001, MSFHR scholars have attracted more than $1.1 billion in additional investments to B.C.’s research community and trained more than 4,700 apprentices.

“B.C. researchers and the foundation appreciate the ongoing support from our provincial government,” said Dr. Diane Finegood, president and CEO of MSFHR.

“Our scholars have made discoveries that drive innovation in our health system and improve the health of our populations, allowing them to attract additional funding amounting to ten times MSFHR’s investment of $117 million in their awards over the past decade.”

MSFHR-funded researchers and research programs – such as scholars and
trainees, infrastructure funding and health services, as well as policy research — have had a significant impact on a provincial, national and international scale.

A few examples include:

  • Dr. Sohrab Shah, MSFHR-funded scholar (2011), co-led BC Cancer Agency research that identified the genetic composition of the deadliest form of breast cancer, opening the door to targeted treatments.
  • MSFHR trainees working at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS have proven the effectiveness of proactive treatment protocols to reduce transmission of HIV.
  • Infrastructure funding provided by MSFHR to the team at the Prostate Centre’s Translational Research Initiative for Accelerated Discovery and Development, allowed the team to develop a compound called OGX-011, which has been found to be effective in treating prostate cancer. The drug is currently in clinical trials around the globe.
  • Targeted MSFHR funding to support health services and policy research resulted in 105 research projects like the one to determine who was most susceptible to H1N1, the results of which helped health-care leaders make informed policy decisions about which populations to target with immunization campaigns.

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