Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Toronto Wednesday to announce a $20 million funding deal that aims to promote longevity and make Toronto a commercial hub for an exploding branch of medicine.
“Regenerative medicine is the future,” said Trudeau, referring to research that aims to extend lifespans by fixing our bodies’ faulty cells and tissues by reengineering their DNA and restoring their normal function. Cell therapy technologies could one day have a huge effect on our health, offering hope for older Canadians and those suffering from chronic diseases.
“These are living drugs,” explains Phil Vanek, general manager for cell therapy technologies at GE Healthcare, which also announced it will be a partner in the Toronto facility.
“The reprogrammed cell itself becomes the treatment that gets reintroduced to the patient. Ordinary drugs wear off after we take them, but regenerative medicine can have a durable effect. It can restore a function that was lost or, someday, give our cells one they never had.”
The government hopes that its investment, along with funding from the Ontario government and GE Healthcare will help create the first facility to have researchers collaborate with industry and overcome cell therapy manufacturing challenges.