The Arthritis Society commits $4.5 million in research funding

TORONTO, Sept. 18, 2013 /CNW/ - The Arthritis Society today announced the commitment of over $4.5 million in funding for arthritis research across the country. The Arthritis Society is the largest non-government funder of basic and applied arthritis research in Canada. The funding will be used to fund both established researchers as well as provide young investigators with their first opportunity to explore the field of arthritis research.

"The Arthritis Society is committed to setting lives in motion and one of the ways we do this is through the funding of research that will have an impact on people living with arthritis today," said Joanne Simons, chief mission officer of The Arthritis Society. "In addition, we are also tremendously fortunate to fund many young investigators who are just beginning their careers in arthritis, a field of study that everyday has the potential for a major breakthrough."

The Society adjudicates and issues new research grants each year, with awards lasting from one to three years depending on the nature of the research.

A total of 29 awards were granted to researchers at institutions across the country, including the University of Alberta, the University of British Columbia, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, and École Polytechnique de Montréal. In addition, The Society is providing grants to 18 arthritis research centres across Canada.

Highlights from the 2013 grantees include:

  • Dr. Rita Kandel, Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, will be researching the development of personalized biological implants that will help joints damaged by arthritis return to normal. Joints damaged by arthritis do not repair themselves, and treatment usually means a joint replacement. The research aim is to restore mobility and function, reduce pain and eliminate the need for a joint replacement.
  • Dr. Mary De Vera, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia, will study the effects of arthritis medication during pregnancy. Many types of arthritis strike women during their childbearing years, yet there is little understanding on how taking arthritis medication during pregnancy can affect either the mother's or baby's health.  The results of this study should help guide important family decisions for women with arthritis who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

  • Dr. Cheryl Barnabe, a rheumatologist and Clinician Investigator in the Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary, will investigate if joint damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis is truly permanent or irreversible, or if it can actually improve when taking disease-modifying arthritis medications. Using new high-resolution imaging technology, the research will determine if disease-modifying medications can cause small amounts of new bone to be deposited into damaged joints and if so, if this improves hand function in people living with rheumatoid arthritis.

For more information or to make a donation to support arthritis research, visit www.arthritis.ca.

About The Arthritis Society
The Arthritis Society has been setting lives in motion for over 65 years. Dedicated to a vision of living well while creating a future without arthritis, The Society is Canada's principal health charity providing education, programs and support to the over 4.6 million Canadians living with arthritis. Since its founding in 1948, The Society has been the largest non‐government funder of arthritis research in Canada, investing more than $185 million in projects that have led to breakthroughs in the diagnosis, treatment and care of people with arthritis. For more information and to make a donation, visit www.arthritis.ca.

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