Researchers at Mount Sinai’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute have been awarded a joint stem cell research grant announced today from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). The Mount Sinai team, led by Dr. Andras Nagy, Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, is one of three teams across Canada to be awarded this grant in order to further understand how stem cells function. A portion of this grant going to Dr. Nagy’s team totals $2 million over five years.
Stem cells have been widely touted for their potential use in medicine, such as in the development of new drugs to prevent and treat illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, wound healing and spinal cord injury. But techniques for generating these cells have also raised questions around safety in stem cell therapies. Dr. Nagy’s team is working to resolve the safety issues which surround stem-cell-based therapies before they can be brought to clinical therapies and treatments.
In this new initiative, Dr. Nagy will be teaming up with a Japanese research team led by Dr. Yasuhiro Yamada of Kyoto University to study the reprogramming process in order to find cells most suitable for regenerative medicine that are efficient and safe from a tumorigenic perspective.
“Receiving this funding from CIHR and JST will without any doubt bring us much closer to fulfilling the dream of stem cell-based cures for devastating diseases in the not too far future,” says Dr. Nagy. “This serious commitment is fuelled by the recent Nobel Price given to Dr. Shinya Yamanaka for his discovery of how to generate stem cell from any human being. This is a clear recognition of the excellence in stem cell research which both Canada and Japan represent.”
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