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Canada Provides $4.6M for Childhood Genomics

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The Canadian government has awarded C$4.5 million ($4.6 million) to two new research efforts that will use DNA sequencing to identify genes involved in genetic diseases and cancers that strike children.

The government said today that a group called Finding of Rare Disease Genes in Canada (FORGE Canada) led by researchers at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario will use its funding to study more than 70 childhood genetic diseases.

Another group, the Canadian Pediatric Cancer Genome Consortium, will focus on up to six types of childhood cancer. Both projects will rely on genome sequencing to provide the data for the disease studies.

The funding includes C$2.5 million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and C$2 million from Genome Canada, including C$600,000 from Genome British Columbia and C$500,000 from Genome Quebec, and additional funding from the C17 Research Network.
"This investment in world-leading research will help find important new treatments for children with cancer and rare genetic diseases," Gary Goodyear, Canada's Minister of Science and Technology, said in a statement.

"The next ten years in health research will be defined by our understanding of genomics and its effect on how we develop new treatment methods and monitoring tools," added Pierre Chartrand, VP of Research and CSO for CIHR.

According to Genome BC, the pediatrics consortium will use next-generation sequencing to scan the DNA of primary and metastatic tumors and normal tissues in order to provide insight into cancer-related genetic mutations with the hope of finding ways to prevent tumors from metastasizing to other parts of the body.

"Our biggest challenge to improving survival is to understand the biology of metastatic disease and how to target it," Poul Sorenson, the Johal Chair in Childhood Cancer Research at the University of British Columbia, said in a statement. "It is imperative to understand metastases and this is an area that has not been well researched on a genomic level internationally."

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