CHILD Study awarded over $9M through Genome Canada grant

posted in: Announcement, Grants | 0

Victoria-based CHILD Study participants Brett Delaney and daughter, Nova

Genome Canada, in collaboration with other partners, has awarded over $9 million to a team of top Canadian researchers who will leverage the CHILD Study to look for clues to the causes of childhood asthma in the infant gut microbiome.

The researchers will look for a way to predict which babies will go on to have asthma, based on the microorganisms living in their intestines. Knowing this, in turn, may enable the elaboration of new strategies to prevent asthma from developing in the first place.

This is good news for families participating in the Study, for whom being part of such a solution—helping to discover better treatments, or a cure—is a primary motivation. Brett Delaney and his daughter Nova, who suffers from asthma, are CHILD Study participants. As he told the Vancouver Sun, when interviewed about this grant announcement: “It’s a good experience for Nova to participate and to contribute something of value, and I think she understands that.”

CHILD Study Director Dr. Padmaja Subbarao with Science Minister Kirsty Duncan at the Ministerial announcement in Toronto on January 23, 2018

CHILD Study Co-Director Dr. Stuart Turvey (UBC) heads the four-year project. The $4.5M funding from Genome Canada, combined with contributions from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and other partners to total $9.1M, was announced on January 23, 2018, by federal Science Minister the Honourable Kirsty Duncan.

“This new funding will allow us to use CHILD data to build a catalogue of the gut microbes associated with asthma—particularly the ‘missing’ microbes in infants who later develop asthma—and to develop a screening tool to identify infants at the highest risk of asthma,” adds CHILD Study Director Dr. Padmaja Subbarao (Hospital for Sick Children), a co-leader of the Genome Canada grant. “We are truly delighted to be recognized with this award, which will ultimately help us to improve the lives of Canadian children.”

Project collaborators in November 2017, awaiting their application interview with Genome Canada: (L to R) Prof. Timothy Caulfield (U Alberta), Dr. Padmaja Subbarao (Hospital for Sick Children), Dr. B. Brett Finlay (UBC), Dr. Catalina Lopez-Correa (Genome BC), Dr. Stuart Turvey (UBC), and Ms. Vanessa Foran (Asthma Canada)

Additional co-leaders on project, titled “Childhood Asthma and the Microbiome—Precision Health for Life: The Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study,” are Drs Michael Kobor and B. Brett Finlay, both at UBC.

Other members of the research team include: Drs Allan Becker and Meghan Azad (University of Manitoba); Dr. Fiona Brinkman (Simon Fraser University); Prof. Timothy Caulfield and Dr. Piush Mandhane (University of Alberta); Dr. Sara Mostafavi (UBC); Drs Anna Goldenberg and Theo Moraes (SickKids Hospital); Dr. Wendy Lou (University of Toronto); and Dr. Malcolm Sears (McMaster University).

End-users on the project team include: Dr. Louis-Philippe Boulet (Laval), Dr. Judah Denburg (AllerGen NCE), Vanessa Foran (Asthma Canada), Dr. James Mutumba (Commense Inc.), Dr. Ian Rongve (BC Ministry of Health), Janet Sutherland and Dr. Larry Lands (Canadian Thoracic Society), Kate Del Bel (UBC), and Dr. Diana Lefebvre (CHILD Study).

Press release | Vancouver Sun story