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Province makes a giant leap forward in stem cell research

In the 1960s, a pair of researchers from the University of Toronto discovered the existence of stem cells.

In a way, Ontario has been a hotbed for this type of research since then; various provincial governments have invested more than $150-million towards helping unlock the powerful medicinal qualities of stem cells. Diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Crohn's and cancer are just some of the diseases where regenerative cell therapy may present treatments that are far more effective than what we have access to today.

Last week, the provincial government announced that it was reaffirming its commitment to stem cell research by investing $3-million in the creation of the so-called Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine, a joint partnership between the Ontario Stem Cell Initiative (OSCI) and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM). The two organizations will towards developing new treatments and finding ways to monetize the treatments they create.

According to the province, the commercialization of regenerative medicine represents a major potential source of revenue for Ontario. In 2011, the global market for regenerative tissue therapy reached $10-billion. By the end of 2015, that figure is expected to reach $19.4-billion.

In a press release that accompanied the announcement, Reza Moridi, Ontario's then-minister of research and innovation, said, “Ontario is thrilled to support this collaborative initiative, which holds the promise to help treat, manage and cure some of the world's most devastating diseases while offering significant economic benefits.”

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