Minister Jim Wilson signs $16 million contrac...

News

Minister Jim Wilson signs $16 million contract to support new centre for vascular imaging research in London LONDON, ON (Feb. 4, 1999) -- Today, Energy, Science & Technology Minister Jim Wilson, signed an Ontario Research & Development Challenge Fund (ORDCF)* contract with The John P. Robarts Research Institute and London Health Sciences Centre. This will see $16 Million invested over 5 years to create The Centre for Vascular Imaging Research. By developing new ways to image the brain, blood vessels and heart, this new Centre hopes to make breakthroughs that will save lives, save health care dollars and create jobs. Heart Disease and Stroke are leading causes of death and disability, killing more people worldwide than the next 16 most common causes of death combined (including Cancer, AIDS, Diabetes and accidental death). Cardiovascular Disease causes immeasurable human suffering and represents a crushing burden of more than $8 Billion per year to the Ontario Health Care System. Minister Wilson was here today to formalize the new ORDCF investment at a Media Conference at London Health Sciences Centre. The Centre for Vascular Imaging Research is a collaborative partnership between The Government of Ontario, two institutional partners--The John P. Robarts Research Institute and London Health Sciences Centre--and five private sector partners; G E Canada, Life Imaging Systems Inc., Siemens Canada, Berlex Canada and Eli Lilly Canada. The $16 Million in funding consists of three portions; one-third each from the ORDCF, which was the catalyst to leverage matching funds from the private sector partners and institutional partners. The Centre builds upon one of Canada's foremost imaging research groups, and allows the internationally renowned scientists at Robarts Research Institute and at London Health Sciences Centre to focus on finding solutions to a critical medical problem. This synergy at the new Centre will provide outstanding medical research into Vascular Disease, with additional commercial relevance. "The province's investment in the Centre, through the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund, will pay huge dividends in terms of better patient care, job creation, and new opportunities for scientists to do world-class research right here in Ontario," says Minister Wilson. The Director of the Centre, Dr. Brian Rutt**, of the Imaging Research Laboratories at Robarts, explains: "Ontario will benefit from the creation and support of 75 high-tech jobs, and many more may be generated longer term. Aside from the research goals of saving lives and health care dollars, the Centre will train highly qualified personnel, create innovative medical devices and software, and may result in the formation of high-tech spin-off companies." Dr. Mark Poznansky, President and Scientific Director of Robarts comments: "This initiative solidifies, once again, the notion that London is an important centre of medical research excellence in Ontario, and in North America. The fact that our scientists can visualize the vasculature accurately and in three dimensions, has allowed for an incredible ability to understand and diagnose the changes in diseased blood vessels, and the promise of finding new treatments and therapies." Tony Dagnone, President and CEO of LHSC says: "The value inherent in a collaborative effort such as this will be most felt by our current and future patients. The Centre for Vascular Imaging Research is a model for government, private sector, and public sector partnership with the patient being the primary benefactor." "Medical imaging is an area in which this university can truly lay claim to being a world leader," says Paul Davenport, President of The University of Western Ontario. "Exemplary graduate and postdoctoral students are drawn to research projects of the highest caliber in this field. The future stars of medical imaging are working right here, right now with the top experts in the world." In collaboration with the private sector partners, the Centre will utilize four advanced imaging technologies which are being customized for vascular disease diagnosis; Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computed Tomography (CT) Imaging, 3-D Ultrasound and Computed Rotational Angiography. The key objectives over the long term will be earlier and more accurate identification and targeted treatment of at-risk individuals, in order to reduce the economic burden of cardiovascular disease. *The Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund (ORDCF) is a $500 million government program designed to promote research excellence in the province by increasing the Research & Development capacity of Ontario universities and other research institutions through private and public sector partnerships. **Dr. Rutt is also a Professor at The University of Western Ontario in the Departments of Diagnostic Radiology & Nuclear Medicine, Medical Biophysics and Physics & Astronomy. This Media Alert is From: Jan Graves, Director of Communications and Development, The John P. Robarts Research Institutec/o Irene Posliff (519) 663-5777 ext. 34409fax (519) 663-3789Nancy Lawrence, Communications Officer, London Health Sciences Centre(519) 685-8500, ext. 77642fax (519) 667-6598Mike Krizanc, Minister's Office, Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology (416) 327-3550fax (416) 327-6754Robarts Research Institute was officially opened in 1986 and is Canada's only privately operated medical research facility. The Institute is comprised of some 365 highly qualified individuals, including scientists, hospital clinicians and technical specialists. They are actively researching many of the major causes of death and disability. For more information, please contact:Irene Posliff, Communications Officer, The John P. Robarts Research Institute; (519) 663-3021