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Matching ExCELLirate Canada funding from The Ontario Research Fund

Matching ExCELLirate Canada funding from The Ontario Research Fund

It was recently announced that ExCELLirate Canada has successfully been granted a Research Infrastructure award of $4,159,049 by the Ontario Research Fund for the Innovation Fund Project Grant "ExCELLirate Canada: Expanding CELL-based Immunotherapy Research Acceleration for Translation and Evaluation".

The Ontario Research Fund – Research Infrastructure award provides research institutions with funding to help support infrastructure needs, such as modern facilities and equipment. Both the Ontario government and the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) have now provided funding. With the initial CFI support of $5,187,685 and additional provincial funding in Alberta and Quebec the investment for the new ExCELLirate Canada platform is now more than $10 million dollars.

“Cell therapies are demonstrating meaningful and lifesaving remissions for some people in whom chemotherapy and stem cell transplants have not worked. However, the current costs and access to these treatments are an issue,” says Dr. Annette Hay, project co-lead and Senior Investigator at the Canadian Cancer Trials Group. “The ExCELLirate Canada platform proposes to revolutionize the manufacturing of cell therapies, including CAR T-cells, and address the challenges that prevent this lifesaving therapy from being used to its full potential.”

The new platform will bring together partners and renowned leaders committed to accelerating the evaluation and adoption of cell therapies for cancer within Canada by coordinating their activities and resources to enable international caliber research and development of cell therapies for cancer.

“The delivery model that we are developing through ExCELLirate Canada will provide rapid, low-cost cell therapy solutions which, in turn, will make cell therapies broadly available to those who need them. If successful, ExCELLirate Canada will serve as a model that will undoubtedly be copied by jurisdictions beyond Canada’s borders,” says Dr. Jonathan Bramson, project co-lead and Vice-Dean of Research of the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University.

ExCELLirate Canada is led by the Canadian Cancer Trials Group (CCTG) with collaborating institutions and researchers supporting this national platform: Dr. Rebecca Auer, University of Ottawa; Dr. Douglas Mahoney, University of Calgary; Dr. Denis Claude Roy, University of Montreal; and Dr. Matthew Seftel, Canadian Blood Services. Partner organizations and institutions with expertise in cell therapy production, preclinical testing, standards development and training, and health policy include BioCanRx, CellCAN, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine,  National Research Council of Canada, Cell Therapy and Transplant Canada, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, C3i Centre for Commercialization of Cancer Immunotherapy, and Universities of Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, McGill and Toronto.

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