Research Funding Cuts
**Borrowed from the CBC**
Scientists in Ottawa say Ontario’s decision to cut $66 million in health research funding is a blow to cancer and heart-disease treatment in Canada.
Last year the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute received $7 million in grants for work using viruses to infect and destroy cancer tumours as well as stem cell research for heart disease.
That grant money was then leveraged to bring in private firms to create the therapies.
Ontario’s Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid said the research money needs to be moved to the Eastern Ontario Development Fund in this part of the province.
“It’s a concern,” said Dr. Duncan Stewart, CEO and scientific director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. “It was a very important decision and we are very concerned about its impact.”
Dr. John Bell, a senior scientist working on the cancer research, said his researchers needed to conduct more clinical trials and said the loss of funding is disappointing.
“Without that extra funding we can’t really commercialize [the therapies] and really develop them here in Ontario where we want to,” said Bell. “The most important thing as far as I’m concerned is getting the product to people.”
Funds to move to economic development
The institute said the research has created 400 jobs over the last few years. Bell said without continued funding, commercial development will move offshore.
“Having manufacturing facilities here, really putting our stake in the ground and being the world leaders…that’s a very positive thing,” said Bell.
The Ontario government said it needed to free up money to put into programs that have a better track record of creating jobs.