University of Toronto regenerative medicine program awarded $114M grant

Peter Zandstra, professor in the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto, is shown in a handout photo.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-University of Toronto-James Poremba

TORONTO - The University of Toronto has been awarded a $114-million federal grant for its regenerative medicine program, which seeks to develop treatments for major diseases by designing and manufacturing cells, tissues and human organs.

Prof. Peter Zandstra says the new initiative called Medicine By Design could make it possible to improve treatments for such conditions as cancer, diabetes and blindness.

The federal government is funding seven years of research with the grant — the largest in the university's history.

The program will involve more than 50 researchers and clinicians in partnership with the Hospital for Sick Children, the University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital.

The university says the Medicine by Design program also will create several start-up companies to supply regenerative medicine technologies to a growing international market.

Zandstra says he expects the research will take regenerative medicine to the next level for both patients and the economy.

“We’ll be able to design cells, tissues, and organs from the ground up," he said in a release Tuesday.

"Stem cells offer avenues to treat — and perhaps cure — devastating and costly illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, blindness, lung disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and diseases of the blood and musculoskeletal system."

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