Western University to play a key role in Ontario’s new Institute to tackle diseases of aging

The Ontario Government has announced new funding to help establish the new Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine (OIRM), a research, development and commercialization institute dedicated to the translation of stem cell research in curative therapies for major degenerative diseases.

The OIRM’s four institutional partners include Western University, McMaster University, University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto and their affiliated teaching hospitals.

“Ontario and Western University are already at the forefront of regenerative medicine and stem cell research,” said Cheryle Seguin, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and a founding member for OIRM. “This new institute allows us to build a critical mass of investigators with a common focus on regeneration.”

With a focus on high-priority disease in the Ontario health-care system, the OIRM will fund three disease challenge teams to building on existing research already ongoing across Ontario: fixing damaged hearts with heart muscle derived from stem cells, restoring vision through stem cell therapy, and developing novel stem cell strategies for immunotherapy.

“Stem cell research is one of the most important areas of research when it comes to biological approaches to chronic disease,” said Seguin. “The timing couldn’t be better to be sure that Ontario remains a leader in this science.”