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Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics Officially Opens

October 2, 2007 -- Four Toronto research hospitals are pooling their brain power at a new innovative facility to seek discoveries they hope will lead to treatments for a variety of human diseases.

  TCP Opening


Photo (L-R): Toronto City Councillor Adam Vaughan, Dr. Colin McKerlie, Interim CEO of the TCP, Dr. Steve Lye, Associate Director of the Lunenfeld, Dr. Janet Rossant, Chief of Research at the Hospital for Sick Children, Dr. Cal Stiller, Chair of the Ontario Innovation Trust, Dr. Alastair Glass, Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, Dr. Eliot Phillipson, President and CEO, Canada Foundation for Innovation, Wolf Lebovic, Joseph Lebovic, and Joseph Mapa, President and CEO of Mount Sinai

On October 1, representatives from Mount Sinai Hospital, St. Michael’s, SickKids, the University Health Network, and the University of Toronto and all levels of government, as well as researchers and representatives from private industry, attended a ribbon cutting ceremony and reception for the official opening of the Toronto Centre for Phenogenomics (TCP), the new state-of-the-art home for scientific collaboration between the hospitals.

“It’s a great day for the Discovery District here in Toronto,” said Dr. Colin McKerlie, a researcher and Interim CEO of the TCP, at the opening ceremony. “More importantly, it’s a great day for research and science not only here in Canada, but for the world. To us here at TCP, more research means more capacity for cures, and that was the genesis for the creation of this new research centre.”

The TCP will offer leading researchers a centralized facility to study mouse models of human disease. Mice and humans share about 95 per cent of their genes. These similarities allow scientists to apply the results of their research on mice directly to the treatment of human diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, among others.

“In this facility, we are not only collecting and sharing information, we are sharing decisions and ownership, vision and responsibility,” said Dr. Janet Rossant, current Chief of Research at the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Rossant was formerly Co-Head of the Program in Development and Fetal Health at the Lunenfeld. She has been instrumental in bringing the TCP to fruition over several years. “We are expanding the capacity of each partner while contributing to the powerhouse that is Toronto’s health research community.”

In June 2005, dignitaries gathered for the ground breaking and cement pouring of the initial foundation of the $69-million mouse facility. The TCP has come a long way since then thanks in part to collaboration among different levels of government, the member hospitals, and industry, including the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Ontario Government through the Ontario Innovation Trust.

Located on Orde Street behind Mount Sinai Hospital, the Centre will provide the brightest minds with the tools, technology, and services to expand our understanding of disease. The largest centre of its kind in Canada, the TCP was established with a vision to discover new knowledge and translate it into prevention techniques and treatments to benefit Canadians.

“The TCP is about excellence in health care, a better future for society, and collaboration between hospitals,” said Joseph Mapa, President and CEO of Mount Sinai, speaking on behalf of the four partnering hospitals at the opening ceremony.

“We have a vision for providing better health care to Canadians, and for this vision we have to thank our visionary leadership. I would like to thank Joseph and Wolf Lebovic for putting forth the land to make this vision come true, and for the support the TCP has received from government, agencies, industry, and the University of Toronto. Just as the Joseph and Wolf Lebovic Centre at 60 Murray Street has been blended with the new TCP building, the TCP involves the blending and collaboration of minds so that scientists can make life better.”

Dr. Stephen Lye, Associate Director of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai, also expressed excitement about the TCP. “The TCP is a world-class facility,” he said at the ceremony. “Outstanding science will happen here at an unprecedented speed and with an unprecedented scope. It will help us retain and attract the best and brightest scientists and remain a leader in research and care. The goal of our work is to understand and treat disease, and I am excited about the exceptional science this facility will allow.”

About the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital
The Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute is a recognized leader in the world’s research community, with a reputation for top-quality investigators and scientific excellence. It has an extensive impact on scientific advancement and is home to many of Canada’s outstanding biomedical researchers.

About Mount Sinai Hospital
Mount Sinai Hospital is an internationally recognized academic health centre affiliated with the University of Toronto. It is known for excellence in the provision of compassionate patient care, innovative education and world-leading research. Our Centres of Excellence are Women’s and Infants’ Health; Surgery and Oncology; Acute and Chronic Medicine; Laboratory Medicine and Infection Control; and the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute. Mount Sinai Hospital brings together Bright Minds and Big Hearts to provide The Best Medicine.

About the Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada’s agency for health research. CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 11,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

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