Canada earmarks $16M for research on chronic disease prevention, treatment

Massage Therapy Canada staff
May 03, 2016
By Massage Therapy Canada staff
L-R: Dr. Daniel Figeys, University of Ottawa; Dr. David Mack, CHEO Research Institute; Dr. Phillip Sherman, CIHR; Dr. Alain Stintzi, University of Ottawa; Dr. James Butcher, University of Ottawa
L-R: Dr. Daniel Figeys, University of Ottawa; Dr. David Mack, CHEO Research Institute; Dr. Phillip Sherman, CIHR; Dr. Alain Stintzi, University of Ottawa; Dr. James Butcher, University of Ottawa Photo credit: CIHR
Ottawa – The federal government will invest $16 million over five years to support new research aimed at finding ways to prevent or treat chronic health conditions affecting millions of Canadians.

Health Minister Jane Philpott made the announcement Monday.

"Millions of Canadians, such as our children, seniors, family and friends, live with chronic conditions, affecting their quality of life and placing a great deal of stress on their loved ones," Philpott said. "We are pleased to support these outstanding research teams that will produce important new knowledge and help make life better for Canadians living with chronic disease and their families. I wish the teams every success as they carry out their research projects."

It is commonly understood that both environmental and genetic factors play a role in the development of chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease, a statement from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) said. "A child with asthma, for example, can inherit a genetic predisposition to the condition from their parents and episodes can be triggered from breathing in irritants like pollen and cigarette smoke. But how exactly genes interact with the environment to contribute to these health conditions is not well understood."

Through the CIHR, the government is funding eight new research teams. "These teams will advance our understanding of the complex interaction between our genes and the environment in which we live and guide the development of new approaches to prevent, treat or better manage chronic conditions. Their work promises to improve the lives of Canadians and reduce the burden on our health care system," CIHR said. Funding partners for select projects include Genome BC and Crohn's and Colitis Canada.

"Most chronic diseases, such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and obesity, involve multiple genes in complex interactions with environmental influences," explained Dr. Philip Sherman, scientific director, CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. "New technologies have emerged that provide researchers with a greater understanding of the genome, the epigenome, the microbiome, and the metabolome.

"This research funding will enable researchers to use these new technologies to better understand the complex interactions that cause chronic disease, and ultimately help us to identify better ways to prevent and treat chronic disease conditions."

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