Stem Cell Network
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Established in 2001, The Stem Cell Network (SCN) has become Canada’s foremost research organization dedicated to enabling the translation of stem cell research into clinical applications, commercial products and public policy. Supported by the Government of Canada, SCN has facilitated the growth of Canada’s stem cell research community, and has provided approximately $85 million for innovative, translational research. Funding has supported over 130 world-class researchers and 2,500 trainees from across Canada. Additionally, SCN has catalyzed 12 clinical trials, 11 start-up companies, incubated several international and Canadian research networks and organizations, and established the Till & McCulloch Meetings, Canada’s foremost stem cell research event.
The mission of the organization is "to be a catalyst for enabling translation of stem cell research into clinical applications, commercial products or public policy."
SCN is a Network of Centres of Excellence with funding of $6.5 million per year from 2008- 2015. The organization is based in Ottawa, Ontario.
Annual Scientific Conference
Since 2001, SCN has hosted an annual scientific conference. This conference is open to SCN investigators and trainees, and provides a forum to share new research. The conference takes place in a different Canadian city each year.
Research Funding Programs
Impact research agreements (IA):
- Clinical translation impact research agreements: Designed to support projects that develop novel cellular or therapeutic stem cell approaches to tissue repair and regeneration within specific disease models
- Commercialization impact research agreements: Aimed at projects that generate novel technologies and intellectual property (IP) that have commercial value in the stem cell research or therapeutics markets
- Public policy impact research agreements: Aimed at projects that will address public policy issues relevant to stem cell research
Disease team research agreements (DT): This program support projects that are developing novel cellular or stem cell related therapeutic approaches to tissue repair and regeneration for specific diseases, possibly including; diabetes, heart disease, septic shock and lung disease
Clinical trial research agreements (CT): This program is aimed at phase 1 or 2 human clinical trials. Projects must have Health Canada approval and be at the patient recruitment stage. Grants will be awarded for projects that if successful will show the incremental benefit to the patient, as well as an economic analysis of the potential cost of treatment compared to current best available standard of care.
The SCN training program includes studentships, fellowships, research grants and workshops.
In 2004, 15 national research networks met in Montreal. The organizations shared information about their mandates and the status of stem cell research in their respective countries, and concluded that (i) they had a responsibility to do all that they could to foster international research collaborations between networks and investigators, and (ii) there was a significant opportunity to share best practice and collaborate in other areas to achieve individual missions more rapidly and effectively. The outcome was the Montreal White Paper, endorsed at a second meeting of these groups in June 2005, which stated their goal to be:
“the creation of a coordinating group, to be known as the International Consortium of Stem Cell Networks (ICSCN) that will be committed to international cooperation and collaboration, extending the concept of national research networks to the international level”.