Following on from my time at the Canadian Science Policy Centre's excellent policy conference last week, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight some recent examples of important research translating to market.
Anwar-Mohamed, a recent graduate of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Alberta has a talent for spotting toxicity problems. Anwar-Mohamed's work caught the eye of Michael Houghton, one of the world's leading virologists, who hired him as a post-doctoral fellow to work in his lab to find ways of improving our ability to predict drug toxicity. Specifically, Houghton has tasked Anwar-Mohamed to look at how hepatitis C infection affects the metabolization of drugs at a cellular level. This is a great example of the application of interdisciplinary skills, building stronger ties with pharmacy in order to create antiviral vaccines and drugs.
Read more about the research here: Grad soars to new heights with 'eyes of a falcon'
Genetic testing has recently become a hot topic, particularly after Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie revealed her choice to have a double mastectomy, following genetic testing that showed she tested positive for the BRCA1 mutation. In its November issue, Fast Company magazine published a very thought-provoking article on genetic testing. As the article highlights, in the era of big data, the information collected through genetic testing can not only be valuable on an individual level, but the information is also incredibly valuable to pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and other organizations that are working to create personalized medicines through targeted research. However, as we have discussed before, there are many concerns regarding genetic discrimination and genetic privacy. In October's Speech from the Throne, the federal government committed to preventing employers and insurance companies from discriminating against Canadians on the basis of genetic testing. With genetic testing so readily available, as the Fast Company magazine article shows, this government commitment is very timely.
Read the Fast Company magazine article - Inside 23andMe Founder Anne Wojcicki's $99 DNA Revolution
Finally, as I blogged previously, we were fortunate to receive a very interesting keynote speech from the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State for Science and Technology at the CSPC Policy Conference. Minister Rickford reinforced the importance of collaboration among public, private and academic sectors in policy making in order to "bridge the gap between ideas and marketplace". It was encouraging to hear Minister Rickford highlighting Canada's vibrant culture of science and technology, while recognizing the need to continue nourishing Canada's innovation eco-system in order to ensure that research is brought to market.