Professors Ubaka Ogbogu and Timothy Caulfield receive Stem Cell Network grant

The grant will support research into legal, ethical and social implications surrounding regenerative medicine therapies

Lauren Bannon - 13 June 2022

When University of Alberta Faculty of Law Associate Professor Ubaka Ogbogu learned that he and his collaborators at the Health Law Institute had received a large grant to support their project, Law, Public Policy and Social License for Next-Generation Regenerative Medicine, he was thrilled to see the research he is so passionate about be recognized.

“This was a very competitive grant involving applicants and teams from across the country so, naturally, we were very excited to receive the news,” said Ogbogu. “More importantly, securing funding to support some really innovative projects was affirming.”

The Institute is an internationally recognized centre for evidence-based health law and science policy research, and it is home to several of Canada's leading health law scholars. The Institute's research is interdisciplinary, and deals with topics such as stem cell research, genetics, patient safety, the prevention of chronic disease, the commercialization of research, alternative medicine and access to health care.

The $700,000 grant is from the Stem Cell Network, which is a non-profit that funds research projects involving regenerative medicine – a field of medicine that focuses on developing treatments to heal tissues and organs and restore function lost due to aging, disease, damage or defects. The funding will be used to build on research already established by its team of collaborators: principal investigators Amy Zarzeczny of the University of Regina, Ogbogu and Professor Timothy Caulfield. Specifically, $400,000 of the grant will be awarded to Ogbogu and Caulfield to support research at the University.

Ogbogu said that the project has three key objectives: examining regulatory frameworks for market authorization and regulatory approvals of regenerative medicine therapies in Canada compared to other countries; examining the framework of laws, regulations and policies that will govern clinical providers of these therapies; and examining how information regarding these therapies are communicated in public and private spaces and how that impacts public trust in science.

The team has also enlisted the help of research partners from South Africa, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and France. These partners will offer their expertise in law, science communication, regulatory policy and biotechnology.

“The work we produce at the Institute has helped shape the landscape of regulation in Canada and beyond and continues to influence policy development,” Ogbogu said. “We are very proud of this work and grateful for the support of the Stem Cell Network to continue our research.”

Support for ScienceUpFirst

The Institute is also pleased to announce another grant that was recently received from the Canadian Institute of Health Research. This grant is a special call to support ScienceUpFirst, an initiative that – as stated on its website – shares “the best available science in creative ways to stop the spread of misinformation.” At this time, their main focus is curbing misinformation surrounding COVID and vaccines.

The $1,500,000 funds secured from this grant will be split between the Institute and the Canadian Association of Science Centres. Caulfield is the principal investigator on this project.