UBC Reports
October 16, 1997

Genetic Centre of Excellence gets federal funding guaranteed to 2005

The Canadian Genetic Diseases Network (CGDN), a national Centre of Excellence based at UBC, has been awarded $18 million in research funding by the federal government.

The award allows the network to continue research into human genetic disease for the next four years, with renewed funding committed for an additional three years to 2005.

Funding was recommended by an international peer review panel.

"This award ensures that Canadian scientists remain at the forefront in international human genetic disease research," says network founder Prof. Michael Hayden of the Dept. of Medical Genetics. "It will also form a basis for strengthening our ongoing partnerships with Canadian industry and the scientific and academic communities nationwide."

Funding will be directed into an expanded research program, called From Genes to Therapies -- a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to genetic diseases research.

The program's four interrelated research themes will focus on gene identification, gene function, development of clinical therapies and assessment of genetic susceptibility to disease.

Since its founding in 1990, CGDN research has discovered genes connected with diseases such as Alzheimer's, Huntington disease, and breast and ovarian cancer. The research has also led to the launch of six biotechnology companies, including NeuroVir Inc., which is located at UBC.

Seven network scientists are based in British Columbia -- at UBC, B.C.'s Children's Hospital and the University of Victoria. They are part of a network of 50 members and their research teams, located at 18 universities, hospitals and research centres across Canada.

CGDN has provided an interdisciplinary training environment for over 300 scientists.

Approximately 60 per cent of Canadians will develop or die from a disease with a significant genetic component.

The recent award brings the federal government's total investment in CGDN to over $50 million.