May 08, 2023
Vancouver, BC — A pair of late-stage Genome British Columbia (Genome BC) research and development projects tackling major public health challenges through genomics are receiving federal support through Genome Canada.
A project from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Provincial Health Services Authority will assess the effectiveness of a new type of genome sequencing for screening genetic diseases in critically ill newborns. Early, accurate diagnosis can profoundly influence clinical management and have lifelong positive impacts for children affected by these diseases.
The second project, from UBC and BC Cancer, will evaluate the ability of a new technology to identify which side of a family genetic variants for hereditary cancers come from. Around 300,000 Canadians are at high risk for developing hereditary cancers and may not know it. Identifying the familial source of a patient’s inherited risk for disease can improve follow-up screening of other family members, thereby increasing the chances of preventing or catching cancer early on.
These two Genome BC-backed projects were among 13 projects announced by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, on April 18th. Canadian genomics research and development received a total investment of $56.7 million under that announcement, with $18.1 million in federal support and an additional $38.6 million provided by provincial governments, businesses and other research partners across Canada.
“Genomics is a key technology that is instrumental in responding to national and global challenges. Projects like those celebrated today with Genome British Columbia are central to make sure the Canadian research system grows and remains at the forefront globally, leading to more cutting-edge genomics science that delivers real impacts for the health and economic growth of Canadians.”
~ The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
Genome BC plays a vital role in advancing these projects by supporting the development of their proposals, helping them access diverse funding sources including contributing partial funding, and finding the right industry partners.
For more than 20 years, Genome BC has generated over $1.27 billion of investment in more than 500 genomics research and innovation projects, including over 1,000 collaborations with partners in BC and internationally. By connecting academic researchers, industry partners, and public policy priorities, Genome BC has brought $969 million in co-funding to BC and advanced 152 BC-based companies.
“These projects are an excellent example of how we’re applying made-in-Canada genomic solutions to real-world challenges. Genome Canada’s Genomic Applications Partnership Program is a valuable partnership that bring together the best efforts of government, academia, industry and sector organizations to capitalize on opportunities and meet needs for the benefit of BC and Canada.”
~ Suzanne Gill, President and Chief Executive Officer, Genome BC
Genomics research is driving innovations and delivering solutions to global challenges like climate change, public health and food security. These 13 projects will harness cutting-edge genomics science to deliver results leading to healthier, more sustainable and prosperous communities across Canada.
“RapidOmics 2.0 will study a made-in-BC approach that promises to provide precision genomic diagnostics to critically ill babies more quickly and accurately than has ever been possible before.”
~ Dr. Jan Friedman, University of British Columbia, and RapidOmics 2.0 Project Lead
“Predicting the parent-of-origin of a variant with high accuracy, using only the blood sample from the child is a significant advance for the field that can offer immediate clinical benefits. Through this project, we will validate parent-of-origin-aware genomic analysis for the most common hereditary cancer syndromes, assess its clinical utility and clinically implement this practice-changing technology that has the potential to set a new standard of clinical care.”
~ Dr. Kasmintan Schrader, BC Cancer, and Member of the Parent-of-Origin Aware project team
“Enabling impact-focused research partnerships between academia, industry, public sector institutions and other partners is a powerful vehicle for generating long-term growth, low-carbon productivity and a healthier future for Canadians. Genome Canada is proud to mark the 10th anniversary of the Genomics Application Partnership Program (GAPP) and invest in our 100th GAPP with the vital support of the Government of Canada.”
~ Dr. Rob Annan, President and CEO, Genome Canada-30-
Learn More About These Projects
RapidOmics 2.0: Long-read genomic sequencing for urgent genetic disease diagnosis
Parent-of-Origin Aware genomic analysis
Contact: A.G. Klei, Senior Communications Manager, Genome BC