News & Events

Our April 11th Clinical Trials Initiative Workshop will focus on the practical issues of cell-based clinical trials. Patrick Bedford, Manager of Clinical Translation and Regulatory Affairs at CCRM will speak to the regulatory environment involving the use of IPSC in clinical trials and potential hurdles as these cells move towards the clinic. Emily Titus, Director of Technology Development with CCRM will address considerations for cell manufacturing and scale-up production of GMP grade IPSC....
March 9, 2017 (Montreal) - Stem cell science belongs to Canada and it is powering regenerative medicine. Today, leaders from across this emerging sector have joined forces to advance the field, through the newly created Regenerative Medicine Alliance of Canada (RMAC).  The global market for regenerative medicine is expected to exceed US$49 billion by 2021.  Canada is well positioned to compete by moving its innovative treatments and therapies out of the lab and into the...
  Join us for a day of innovative science! OIRM is pleased to host it's third Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Symposium on Thursday, May 25 at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning (686 Bay Street, Toronto). The symposium is a one-day annual event bringing together scientists, clinicians, trainees, industry, health charities and government to share advances made by OIRM's Disease Teams and discovery science that demonstrate Ontario's translational capacity in...
Unraveling the molecular mechanisms driving stem cell fate decisions still remains one of the major quests in stem cell biology. State-of-the-art -OMICS technologies has become an important tool to their discovery pipeline and has generated an increased interest among stem cell biologists to learn this technique. However, often technical and other pragmatic challenges limit the ability of stem cell biologists to maximize the amount of information that can be harnessed from large data sets. Such...
This workshop is ideal for trainees who want to advance their biological knowledge and research projects through the use of cutting edge transgenic technologies. This workshop will cover techniques useful for both human and mouse genetic modification. Presented through both lectures and hands-on tutorials, trainees will learn how to design and generate appropriate expression constructs using CRISPR/Cas9 strategies.  The course is tailored so that participants design and...
By popular demand, we've updated our cell therapy clinical trials infographic with information for 2016 and 2017. Click the image below to download a higher resolution .pdf file for sharing. 
Click on the graphic to download a high resolution pdf for sharing.
October 24, 2016 (Whistler, BC) – Stem cells and cell therapy transplants make headlines frequently in Canada, thanks to ground-breaking research and clinical trials taking place in the nation’s university labs and hospitals. Cutting-edge advances in Canada’s regenerative medicine community will be on display when international scientists and engineers convene in Whistler, British Columbia to attend the Till & McCulloch Meetings (TMM) and share the latest research in this pioneering...
OIRM is excited to host a Clinical Trials Initiative Workshop to discuss topics of clinical trial design and implementation of phase I/II cell therapy clinical trials. We have three excellent speakers: Dean Ferguson; Director of the Clinical Epidemiology Program at OHRI and Monica Taljaard; Senior Scientist in the Clinical Epidemiology Program, OHRI. They will present "Enhancing translation success through rigorous design and synthesis:...
In Episode 3 of the Stem Cells, Inked series, Marissa Lithopoulos explains her work on bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a condition that develops in extremely premature babies with underdeveloped lungs who have required mechanical breathing assistance. Her research is taking place in the lab of Dr. Bernard Thébaud at The Ottawa Hospital. To read more about work in this lab and on repairing damaged lungs, click here. To watch the video, click on the image below. View the entire Stem Cells,...
By Meredith Hanel In regenerative medicine choosing the right cell for the job depends on the right fit between the disease type and the qualities of the cell. Mesenchymal stromal cells (sometimes called mesenchymal stem cells or MSCs) have turned out to be a great fit for several lung diseases. Strangely, the job they do best — calming down inflammation — is not what they were initially selected to do. MSCs are found in many adult tissues, including bone marrow and umbilical cords, and have...
Hydrogel successfully delivers stem cells to the brain and eye, restoring vision by 15% October 6, 2016 (Toronto, ON) – Molly Shoichet, Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering at the University of Toronto, is a leader in the use of biomaterials to enhance cell delivery and to guide stem cell fate for tissue engineering, especially in the neural system. In 2015, she and her collaborators published a paper, in Stem Cell Reports, which demonstrated that their hyaluronic acid (HA)-based...
How a cell of the nervous system is at the helm of the most advanced regeneration seen in mammals. by Samantha Yammine   Recent breakthroughs in stem cell biology have given us impressive feats like growing mini-organs on a chip, modeling neural diseases in a dish, and teaching us more about cancers; but even our best progress pales in comparison to the innate regenerative capacities of fish, planaria, and amphibians. While each of these seem incredibly unrelated to...
by Meredith Hanel Dr. Saeed Khalili didn’t choose stem cell research at first. Instead, you might say that stem cell research chose him. Khalili initially pursued a career in medical research — immunology to be precise — for the same reason many do: to improve the lives of those suffering from disease. It was during his master’s degree in Iran that things got a lot more personal. His father, a diabetic, began to lose his vision due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a deterioration of...
  Your research, featured in Stem Cells, Inked!   This year, OIRM launched it’s signature series of short animated videos, called Stem Cells, Inked (if you haven’t seen them, click here!). The goal of the series is to profile the research of trainees working in OIRM’s member labs, while giving the trainees an introduction to science communications via video production. We’re looking for video auditions from OIRM trainees, describing your research in 60 seconds...
By Meredith Hanel An intestinal disease among newborns with a mortality rate of 30 per cent has Dr. Tae-Hee Kim seeking links between gut stem cells and microbiota. When Archimedes famously linked the word “Eureka” with a scientific discovery — in this case volume displacement — his excitement was so great that he purportedly ran naked through the streets of Syracuse to share his finding. Few scientists today would venture unclothed to relay their own eureka moment, but that doesn’t...
By Nicole Forgione Farmers and developmental neurobiologists are unlikely collaborators. Not that lab and field don’t mix — farming today is extremely high tech and dependent on science — it’s just that we don’t typically look to soil and crops for answers to early brain development in humans. But two researchers at the University of Guelph are changing that. John Vessey and Scott Ryan are using a New Ideas grant from the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine to investigate the causes...
By Meredith Hanel   Fourth year Ph.D. student Theresa Chow is talking stem cells with a challenging audience — but poses a question they will relate to:   “Say you fall on the ground, and you scratch your knee, and in a week that scab is gone. What helps that scratch go away?”   The average 7-year-old doesn’t know that stem cells are responsible for repairing the skin, but it’s a concept Chow hopes to get across along with the idea that they can aspire...
OIRM and the Ontario Brain Institute partnered to host a free public event in order to provide further information on stem cell research, its current applications and what it holds for the future. Stem cell research is reshaping the frontier of modern science. Its potential is great, but so are its uncertainties. Join these leading experts for a realistic view of what stem cells hold for all of us – now and in the future. If you missed this free public talk then stay tuned as we will be...
Our second installment in the Stem Cells, Inked series, features Samantha Payne from the Molly Shoichet lab at the University of Toronto and her use of the hydrogel HAMC as a cell delivery system for the treatment of stroke. The series is produced by OIRM and animated by Sciconic Media. Those selected for production are involved in the entire process, from initial idea pitch, to script-writing and storyboarding, to filming and audio recording, and input on animation sequences, thereby giving...
June 12, 2016, Toronto ON - Dr. Duncan Stewart, President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine has issued the following statement related to Mr. Gordie Howe and experimental stem cell therapies: “We are saddened to hear about the recent passing of hockey legend Gordie Howe and offer condolences to his family and friends. Mr. Howe and his family were very open in speaking about the experimental stem cell therapy he received and in doing so, helped to open...
May 25, 2016, Toronto, ON – The Board of Directors of the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM) announced today that Dr. Duncan Stewart, Executive Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital, has been appointed as its President and Scientific Director. Dr. Stewart will assume the role on June 1, 2016.    “I am honored to have been selected as OIRM’s next President and Scientific Director. In its short history, OIRM has emerged as an organization that is...
By Nika Shakiba     Cramming six years of research into two minutes is no easy task. Using words that a 10th grader can understand is harder still.   This was the challenge issued by the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM) last fall, which ultimately led to the production of a short video summarizing my PhD research in Dr. Peter Zandstra’s lab at the University of Toronto.   It’s not too often that a scientist is offered a...
By Nicole Forgione     Dr. Michael Fehlings has spent his career studying spinal cord injury in the lab, and working with spinal cord injury patients in his neurosurgery practice. He has met and gotten to know many patients -- patients like Barbara Turnbull, a journalist and tireless advocate for spinal cord injury (SCI) research who died this past year. Barbara lived as a quadriplegic from the age of 18 when a gunshot wound left her paralyzed from the neck down....
By Meredith Hanel   In small measures, inflammation is a good thing. When you have a sliver, swelling and redness show your immune system is working; that blood vessels have become wider and more permeable, allowing white blood cells to get out and fight pathogens. But there are no small measures in sepsis -- instead of localized inflammation, pathogens in the blood pull a fire alarm, eliciting a whole-body inflammatory response. The result can be collateral damage to blood...
Stem Cells 101 is a series of free public events hosted in four Ontario cities in spring 2016. OIRM was pleased to host four Stem Cells 101 events in London (April 19), Hamilton (April 21), Toronto (April 26) and Ottawa (May 10). These events brought to the public an accessible explanation of what stem cells are, where stem cell research is currently and the direction that research is going. Attendees were also presented with the current landscape of stem cell therapies and what social...
March 2, 2016, Toronto, ON – The Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM) announced today its formal Board of Directors. Collectively, the six-member board represents international and Canadian leadership in stem cell and regenerative medicine research, innovation and commercialization and in health engagement and philanthropy. OIRM was launched as an independent entity in November 2014 with core funding from the province of Ontario (Ministry of Research and Innovation). The Board of...
Three new Accelerator Fund grants awarded The Disease Team grant competition in late 2015 brought a number of very strong applications from across Ontario, of which four received funding (see annoucement). However, due to the strength and future potential of several non-funded applications, the international review panel convened by OIRM recommended that they be invited to compete in a new grant category, the Accelerator Fund. This new fund awards $100,000 for one year to help research...
OIRM Impacts is a semi-annual report that highlights the research, commercialization and public engagement advancements made by the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine. We invite you to share this document. OIRM gratefully acknowledges the support of Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation.
by Lisa Willemse A mix of old and new electrical monitoring technologies is providing the necessary clues to determine the right kind of stem cells needed to repair the damaged heart. Anybody who knows a little bit of French could tell you that “la flamme” means the flame. The sort of thing you need to start a fire, light a fuse, or, in its metaphorical sense, begin a movement or ignite one’s heart. It’s rather fitting then, that Dr. Michael Laflamme should be spearheading a new research...
By Brad Hussey Thanks to a chance discovery, an Ontario Institute of Regenerative Medicine (OIRM) research team is hot on the heels of a potential treatment for repairing damage to white matter in the brain — using a medication that is anything but new. As you read this, your eyes are moving across the words on the screen while your brain translates the images into information you can comprehend. Perhaps one hand is slowly scrolling the page on your tablet screen, the other tasked with...
By Lisa Willemse   Note: Names of patient advocates and other identifying information have been omitted for privacy considerations.   Twenty-six people had gathered in the room. One, a patient with a spinal cord injury, arrived in a wheel chair. Another had Huntington’s disease. Two of the women had multiple sclerosis and another had vision loss. In all, eight of those assembled had first-hand experience living with a severe, debilitating illness.  All were...
December 9, 2015, Toronto, ON – New research funding in Ontario seeks to bring regenerative medicine therapies closer to the clinic for cardiovascular disease, septic shock, spinal cord injury and brain repair for children. These are some of the most devastating and costly illnesses, for which a regenerative medicine treatment could significantly improve quality of life and reduce the public health cost burden. The Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine today announced four new Disease...
By Meredith Hanel Most of us will never feel the kind of adoration reserved for celebrities or rock stars – especially if your daily job involves wearing a lab coat and working with tiny cells in a Petri dish. And yet, on October 17, a handful of researchers and clinicians attending Vision Quest, an event organized by Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB), were treated to a standing ovation from an awed and inspired crowd of 400. For many of the researchers present at the Toronto event, it was...
By Lisa Willemse; co-published at www.medium.com/the-expression On the surface, there is very little to connect the parasite responsible for Chagas disease with Rett Syndrome, an X-linked neurodegenerative disorder. One is a tiny organism carried by insects and transmitted to humans via bites, and the other is a human disease caused by genetic mutation.    Strangely, though, it took an expert in one to discover more about the other. The result is another vital clue to how...
And the stations along the way.   No doubt you’ve heard the adage, “It takes a community to raise a child.” The same might be said for creating medical treatments and cures, except the community in this case is not your local neighbourhood, but the broader community of researchers, health care professionals, business leaders, policy experts and others. Each has a part to play in realizing the common goal of improved health and prosperity.   Some of the players work in...
By Lisa Willemse; co-published at www.medium.com/the-expression Today’s research environment has a strong emphasis on translation to new technologies and treatments. But we wouldn’t be here without basic research and tomorrow’s advances will continue to rely on the fundamental understanding and discovery it brings. On a good day in the Andras Nagy lab at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, 20-25 different students and staff will stop in for anywhere from two to 10 hours to do the kind of work...