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June 6, 2009 (7:00 p.m. EDT)
No. 152

Canada and India Announce Four New Joint Science and Technology Initiatives

The Honourable Stockwell Day, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, today announced funding for four new Canada-India science and technology (S&T) projects worth $6.7 million.

“Canadians are leaders in the field of health sciences,” said Minister Day. “These projects will help connect pure research in laboratories with applied research, and will contribute to improving the lives of Canadians and people around the world.”

All four of the joint projects announced today are in the medical field. Two are seeking advances in the field of cancer, one in the field of sexually transmitted diseases and one in the treatment of malaria.

The Canadian portion of the funding is delivered by International Science and Technology Partnerships Canada (ISTPCanada), an independent organization that provides networking opportunities and funding to support Canadian participation in collaborative research projects.

“The International Science and Technology Partnerships Program, which supports these outstanding collaborative projects, is an example of the important role played by both governments in promoting leading-edge research,” said Henri Rothschild, President and Chief Executive Officer of ISTPCanada. “At ISTPCanada, we will continue to deliver similar bilateral activities in support of this role, one that can only grow in significance in the coming years.”

S&T relations between Canada and India have made good progress at the federal, provincial, academic and private-sector levels over the past years. Much of this progress is due to the work of the Canada-India S&T Joint Cooperation Committee, co chaired by Dr. Thirumalachari Ramasami, Secretary of India’s Department of Science and Technology. Today’s new projects are in addition to eight projects and two joint initiatives announced in June 2008.

Canada and India have a close relationship in science and technology. This includes work in biotechnology, health science, nanoscience and nanomedicine, energy, aerospace, environmental technologies, information and communications technology, and earth sciences.

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A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Mélisa Leclerc
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada


New Canada-India Joint Science and Technology Initiatives

The International Science and Technology Partnerships Program is a five-year, $20-million Canadian program that aims to build stronger science and technology relationships with other countries.

The program is delivered on behalf of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada by International Science and Technology Partnerships Canada, an arm’s-length organization.

Joint research projects

  1. Project: The development of a software product that will automatically and non-invasively detect and recognize tumours using positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. Developing an automated means to detect tumours will eliminate the time-consuming, exhausting and potentially error-prone task of tracing out tumours. This will allow medical experts to concentrate on analysis and diagnosis, with the result of speeding up and improving tumour diagnosis.

    Canadian partners: AUG Signals Ltd., Toronto; Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

    Indian partners: SoftTeam Solutions (P) Ltd., Chennai; Christian Medical College and Hospital, Vellore; Dr. Kamakshi Memorial Hospital, Chennai

  2. Project: The development of rapid diagnostic and screening technologies for head and neck cancer, using panels of biomarkers. The technologies will provide a means to easily discover potential cancer markers, which are used to identify and diagnose cancers. The greatest difficulty in this process is discovering cancer-specific markers. Determining such markers will allow easy creation of test kits and more efficient diagnosing.

    Canadian partners: York University, Toronto; Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto; University of Toronto; XPhase Pharmaceuticals Inc., Toronto; Fisher Scientific Co., Ottawa

    Indian partners: All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, including its specialty centres Dr. B.R.A. Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital and Centre for Dental Education and Research; IMGENEX India Pvt. Ltd., Bhubaneswar

  3. Project: First, the development of a cost-effective and rapid diagnostic test for the detection of three sexually transmitted infections-human immunodeficiency virus, herpes simplex virus 2 and syphilis. Second, the development of a bioinformatics software platform to collect and analyze relevant behavioural information and test results to assist in the development of prevention and control programs.

    Canadian partners: Centre for Global Health, Toronto; bioLytical Laboratories Inc., Richmond; Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion, Toronto

    Indian partners: St. John’s Research Institute, Bangalore; Kentropy Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore

  4. Project: The development of effective antimalarial treatment options. One problem with existing antimalaral treatments is the creation of drug-resistant malaria strains. The researchers will develop compounds minimizing the generation of drug-resistant malaria parasites. They already have developed one lead compound, kopakamal, which has an excellent profile against drug-resistant strains and excellent preliminary results in lab tests on mice. This research will lead to drug development and regulatory studies. It will also facilitate a licensing and commercialization venue for these academic discoveries.

    Canadian partners: University Health Network, Toronto; Therapure Biopharma Inc., Mississauga

    Indian partners: International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, New Delhi; Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani; Lifecare Innovations Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon