OIRM Awards almost $3M in research funding for 2019-2020

Toronto, Ont. – May 15, 2019 – On Wednesday, May 15, 2019 the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM) announced its latest round of research funding at its annual Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Symposium in Toronto. This year OIRM is supporting 16 Ontario research programs.

“Ontario has a thriving regenerative medicine sector and the research being done in this area is second-to-none,” says Dr. Duncan Stewart, President and Scientific Director for OIRM. “This year, several of our funded projects are moving into clinical trials and others are already finding commercialization opportunities. This sector holds incredible promise, as our world-leading research is already leading to company creations, international recognition and, most importantly, significant progress in improving treatments for devastating diseases.”

Awardees include Dr. Marc Jeschke from Sunnybrook Research Institute, who is using stem cells derived from a patient’s burned skin to create new skin. This treatment, which is set to go into Phase 1 clinical trials, has the potential to improve would healing and increase the chances of survival for a person with severe third-degree burns.

Dr. Michael Laflamme from the University Health Network and McEwen Stem Cell Institute is developing an injectable stem cell therapy, which has the potential to regenerate heart tissue and repair the damage done during a heart attack.

Dr. Lauralyn McIntrye from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute is moving into a Phase II study on the safety of her potential treatment for sceptic shock. Between 20 to 40 percent of those with septic shock will die and those who survive need ongoing and expensive treatment, a successful therapy would have enormous health and economic impacts.

OIRM is also awarding eight New Ideas grants, which provide funding for discovery level research to ensure that scientists have the opportunity to test novel ideas with strong potential for success. This year’s recipients include Dr. Cristina Nostro from UHN whose project builds on her current work developing pancreatic beta cells in the lab to help treat type 1 diabetes, and Dr. Emilio Alarcon from the Ottawa Heart Institute, who is working on a collagen-based form of micro-encapsulation of stem cells to repair injured heart muscles.

Today’s announcement included funding for the following projects:

Disease Teams ($450,000)

  • Marc Jeschke, Sunnybrook Research Institute– A trial to improve wound healing using stem cells from patient’s own discarded burned tissue
  • Michael Laflamme, University Health Network – Towards a cell therapy application using pluripotent stem cell-derived heart muscle cells to regenerate injured hearts

Disease Teams ($300,000)

  • Michael Rudnicki – Ottawa Hospital Research Institute– Stimulating muscle repair for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
  • Bernard Thebaud, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute – INCuBATOR: New Cell Treatments for Lung Injury in Babies – Getting research faster and safer into patients
  • Valerie Wallace – University Health Network– Cell transplantation to preserve central vision

Disease Team Grants ($200,000)

  • Lauralyn McIntyre, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute– Cellular Immunotherapy for Septic Shock (CISS): Research to Move Stem Cells Through the Clinical Pipeline
  • Ann Yeh, The Hospital for Sick Children– Stem cell approaches to repairing damaged white matter in the brain of children and teenagers

Fellowship Award ($150,000 for 3 years)

  • Alex Lin – The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute – Deconstructing the myogenic lineages at single cell resolution

New Ideas Grants (up to $75,000)

  • Emilio Alarcon, University of Ottawa – Collagen-based Capsules for Progenitor-cell Therapies
  • Lauren Flynn, Western University – Development of decellularized scaffolds for intervertebral disc repair and regeneration
  • Yun Li, Hospital for Sick Children – Discovering genetic factors that regulate axon regeneration in stem cell derived human neurons
  • Yu Lu, McMaster University – Progressive supranuclear palsy drug target testing using human neurons
  • Maria Cristina Nostro, University Health Network – Characterization of immune cells during human pancreatic development
  • Stephanie Protze, University Health Network – Generation of heart pacemaker cells from stem cells
  • Vince Tropepe, University of Toronto – Treating aberrant brain development associated with congenital muscle disease by sensorimotor stimulation
  • Sowmya Viswanathan, University Health Network – How to make off-the-shelf cellular treatment of diabetic ulcers more effective

About OIRM:

The Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM) is a non-profit stem cell institute funded by the Ontario government and dedicated to transforming discoveries into clinical trials and cures. Through our commitment to collaboration and partnerships, we leverage our resources to fund and support promising advances. OIRM is a passionate champion for investigators and their patients as we build a healthier future for Ontario, Canada, and the world.


For more information:
Krista Lamb, Director,
Communications and Marketing, OIRM
647-403-5627 – krista.lamb@oirm.ca