Western researchers received more than $700,000 in Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) funding this morning, supporting a trio of efforts, including one offering relief to more than three million Canadians who suffer from osteoarthritis.
Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry professor Frank Beier, Canada Research Chair in Musculoskeletal Research, received $321,264 from CFI’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund to purchase advanced equipment to identify molecular and cellular mechanisms that lead to various types of osteoarthritis. In the longer term, Beier and his team hope to use this knowledge to create new treatment strategies for the disease.
Osteoarthritis, which results in degeneration of bones and joints, causes severe pain and immobility, while reducing quality of life and independence. A lack of treatment options also means it directly and indirectly costs Canadians more than $27 billion annually. Unless treatments are found, the personal and financial toll will only rise with the aging population.
“Problems associated with osteoarthritis are, in part, caused by a lack of medications that can slow, arrest or reverse progression of the disease,” Beier said. “Unfortunately, we have limited knowledge of early disease processes that would be most amenable to therapeutic intervention.
“It is important to develop treatments that stop osteoarthritis early before widespread damage occurs.”
Beier is also a member of the Bone & Joint Institute, a collection of more than 60 researchers from across disciplines helping people maintain lifelong mobility.
Two other Western research programs also received CFI funding, including:
- Martin Duennwald, Schulich, Systems Biology Infrastructure to Explore Protein Misfolding and Cellular Protein Quality Control in Human Diseases, $216,642; and
- Stan Metchev, Science, Colibri: An Ultra-fast Telescope Array for Astronomy and Space Science, $200,000.