2 May 2016

Three research teams using data from the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study are receiving $2 million each, for a total of nearly $6 million over five years, to investigate how early life environmental factors can impact long-term health and the development of chronic diseases. The funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research was announced today by federal Health Minister, the Honourable Jane Philpott.

“This funding is evidence of the strategic value of CHILD Study data as a platform for novel research, and will enable important discoveries about how our environment impacts the health of Canadians,” says Dr. Malcolm Sears, CHILD Study Director at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and a professor of medicine at McMaster University.

CHILD Study projects supported by the funding announced today will:

  • examine how genes and the environment affect lung health and the risk for chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Subbarao et al., The Hospital for Sick Children); and
  • investigate ways to better predict who will get asthma and how it can be prevented (Turvey et al., The University of British Columbia).

A related project linking to CHILD Study data will:

  • identify how environmental exposures during pregnancy are associated with childhood obesity to prevent obesity and cardiometabolic disease (Dolinsky et al., University of Manitoba).

Funded by CIHR and the Allergy, Genes and Environment (AllerGen) Network, the CHILD Study is collecting a vast range of health, lifestyle and environmental exposure information from more than 3,500 mothers and children from pregnancy to age five. The study involves four provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario), over 40 multidisciplinary researchers, and more than 100 students and research staff.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton hosts the CHILD Study’s National Coordinating Centre.

“McMaster University and its Faculty of Health Sciences, together with their affiliated teaching hospitals, Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare, are world-recognized centres of expertise in birth cohorts, and in allergy and asthma treatment, care and training,” says Dr. Judah Denburg, a professor and William J. Walsh Chair in Medicine at McMaster University, and Scientific Director of AllerGen. “We are delighted that the Government of Canada, through the CIHR, has invested in the opportunity to leverage CHILD Study data in these groundbreaking research initiatives. The CHILD Study has become an international resource for multiple research endeavours, and will inform scientific, government and public stakeholders for decades to come.”