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Canadian Researchers Receive $10M to Investigate Proteomic, Genomic Markers for Stroke

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A group led by Genome British Columbia, Genome Canada, and the Vancouver Island Health Authority is providing more than C$10 million ($9.8 million) to fund an omics-based effort to identify biomarkers that can diagnose transient ischemic attack, or minor stroke.

The effort will be co-led by Christoph Borchers, director of the University of Victoria – Genome British Columbia Proteomics Centre; University of Calgary researcher Shelagh Coutts; and Andrew Penn, medical lead for the VIHA stroke program. It will seek to identify genomic and proteomic markers capable of diagnosing TIA.

According to Genome-BC, annually more than 50,000 Canadians suffer TIAs, with roughly ten percent of those patients going on to suffer full-blown strokes within the next several days. Immediate treatment of TIAs can prevent larger strokes, but because the affliction is easily confused with conditions like migraines, diagnosis can be difficult and require expensive imaging procedures like CT or MRI scans.

"Partnering with the Vancouver Island Health Authority on this work is enabling genomics and proteomics to make a tangible impact on the healthcare system and stroke patients in British Columbia and beyond, Alan Winter, president and CEO of Genome BC, said in a statement, adding that the project "visibly demonstrates the uptake of applied research to clinical care."

In addition to Genome BC, Genome Canada, and the VIHA, the project is receiving funding from groups including Bruker Daltonics, Alberta Innovates, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, LifeLabs, and the Provincial Health Services Authority.

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