Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disease that normally affects people over 60. Every year, about 6,600 Canadians receive a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. This is a progressive disease, and the symptoms come on gradually. In the early stages of Parkinson’s, people begin to have trouble with their everyday activities, such as getting dressed and walking, and they may require additional help from caregivers. Later, more severe movement complications can occur.
If your loved one has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, you may be feeling scared for the future. While there isn’t a cure for Parkinson’s disease yet, researchers are working hard to find one. Governments around the world, including the Canadian government, provide funding for Parkinson’s research. How much is the Canadian government spending on Parkinson’s research? Here are some details about the programs the government is funding and how those programs are allocating those resources.
The Ontario Brain Institute
In Ontario, the provincial government provides funding to the Ontario Brain Institute. The Ontario Brain Institute is a not-for-profit research centre that focuses on brain research and care. This institute studies neurodegenerative disorders, like Parkinson’s disease, as well as other types of brain disorders, such as epilepsy and cerebral palsy.
In 2010, the Ontario government announced that it would provide $15 million in start-up funding over three years to the Ontario Brain Institute. In 2013, Ontario announced that it would renew the funding commitment, and pledged to provide another $100 million over five years.
Ontario Brain Institute Initiatives
Where is all that money going? The Brain-CODE database is one of the programs that the Ontario Brain Institute has created. This special database stores data, such as brain images and gene data, from people with Parkinson’s disease and other brain conditions. This is especially important to researchers around the world who can access and use this database for their research.
Government funding allowed the Ontario Brain Institute to launch an internship program for postgraduate neuroscientists. This program helps neuroscientists acquire the skills and experience they’ll need to perform Parkinson’s research.
The Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI) Integrated Discovery Program is another initiative that was made possible by Ontario government funding to the Ontario Brain Institute. This program’s goal is to improve the diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.
The Canadian Brain Research Fund
The federal government also provides funding for Parkinson’s research. It established the Canadian Brain Research Fund (CBRF) in 2011. This fund is a private-public partnership, with the government matching funds that are raised privately. The federal government committed $100 million over six years in 2011, and then in 2016, committed another $20 million in matching funds. The total funds are $240 million.
The CBRF provides funding for various types of grants. These grants support the operating costs of innovative research projects. Grants also provide funding for the research platforms that are essential for scientist’s jobs. Additionally, grants provide training and career development programs for talented neuroscientists, which helps them advance in their careers and get the skills and experience they need to perform Parkinson’s research.
The Stem Cell Network
In the 2017 federal budget, the Canadian government proposed $6 million in funding to the Stem Cell Network. The Stem Cell Network is a not-for-profit organization that helps turn stem cell research into treatments. Stem cells offer the potential for treatments for a wide variety of diseases, and Parkinson’s disease is one of them.
The Stem Cell Network focuses on research and training. It trains researchers and provides funding for world-class researchers. It’s connected to Canadian universities and hospitals that run research programs, and it also partners with institutions around the world. The Stem Cell Network has also lead to many clinical trials.