May 4, 2012
The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today announced that the Harper Government will invest heavily in neuroscience research by creating the Canada Brain Research Fund.
"One in three Canadians will face a neurological disorder, injury, or psychiatric disease, at some point in their lives," said Minister Aglukkaq. "This investment will strengthen Canada's position as a world leader in research in the identification and treatment of brain disorders."
Common brain disorders include: depression, Alzheimer's disease, Multiple Sclerosis, autism, brain tumours, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, schizophrenia, addictions, post-traumatic stress, Parkinson's and epilepsy.
The new fund will provide up to $100 million to the Brain Canada Foundation, which will then work to find donors and partners who will match this amount, effectively doubling the investment. The Foundation will raise the matching funding through private donations and charitable contributions. This funding will go towards research to explore different brain disorders to determine what they may have in common.
"The Canada Brain Research Fund will raise awareness and understanding of the brain and brain disease, and increase support for Canada's excellent and innovative brain research," said Inez Jabalpurwala, President and CEO of Brain Canada. "Every Canadian will benefit from the Government of Canada's leadership and vision in this important area."
Brain Canada will use the funding for three types of grants aimed at collaboration and accelerating the pace of discovery:
- Funding teams of scientists that have the best proposals for producing rapid progress in understanding and treating brain diseases;
- Investments in technologies that will allow the sharing of research knowledge and innovative ideas, and encourage collaboration between disciplines;
- To fund trainees for a period of two to three years to support a new generation of neuroscientists.
Examples that have resulted from previous work include:
- The discovery that the immune system plays a key role in chronic pain, which offers new opportunities to develop effective therapeutics;
- The development of drugs with the potential to restore the normal brain function of people with psychiatric disorders, with no obvious side effect;
- The identification of new agents that protect the brain from injury, including ultraviolet radiation and Vitamin D; and determining the role of the genes associated with developing Parkinson's.
This funding and the research it will support are central to the Harper Government's commitment to help Canadians to maintain and improve their health.
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