Stem cell areNa explodes with promising research but scientists remain cautious
By Hermione Wilson

When a medical treatment is as effective as the stem cell therapy out of Ottawa has been, it’s not surprising that the press is throwing around the word “cure”. In 2001, researchers from The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa, led by Harold Atkins and Mark S. Freedman, treated 24 patients who had aggressive forms of multiple sclerosis with a stem cell transplantation technique originally developed to treat leukemia. They began by completely decimating the patients’ immune systems with chemotherapy and then transplanting them with their own newly purified hematopoietic stem cells in an effort to regenerate a new immune system.



This article is about the law, and so the answer to a simple question is inevitably complicated. Some stem cells are patentable, and some are not, and it varies from place to place. What follows is an attempt to be briefly informative about this spectrum of complexities, by looking in particular at a few jurisdictions: Europe, the U.S. and Canada.

Thailand wants to become a vital part of the global value chain, says Panit Kitsubun, Director of the National Biopharmaceutical Facility (NBF). Almost two years removed from a military coup and contending with a floundering economy, the kingdom’s life sciences sector is treading water and looking to the future. The key to that future is Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok, home to the country’s highest concentration of hospitals, research institutions and biotech companies.








ALBERTA FUNDS DEVELOPMENT OF BIOPRODUCTS

Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions (AI Bio) has approved funding for 61 projects it says will add value to Alberta’s renewable resources. Nearly $13 million in grants will go to researchers and companies that will develop new industrial bioproducts or technologies using Alberta agriculture and forestry byproducts or other biomass.


CANADIAN INNOVATORS WORK TO IMPROVE GLOBAL HEALTH

Grand Challenges Canada has committed scale-up funding to six Canadian projects that aim to improve global health. The new investments, matched by a wide range of partners, will enable the innovators to advance the development of their technologies and will build on significant results from seed projects also funded by Grand Challenges Canada.


CANADIAN SCIENTIST CHOSEN AS SPECIAL AMBASSADOR FOR INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF PULSES

A Canadian researcher has been nominated by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) as a Special Ambassador for the International Year of Pulses 2016. Dr. Joyce Boye is a research scientist with the Food Research and Development Centre of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Boye’s research activities focus on developing techniques for the isolation, extraction and characterization of proteins from plant sources and identifying areas of application for the food industry. Her appointment as Special Ambassador was announced during an event hosted by the FAO in Washington, DC, in June.