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March 08, 2008— Ottawa, Ontario


The biomedical field is in constant evolution as it is influenced by emerging technologies and new discoveries that have a direct impact on our health care services. With an aging population, a rise in the number of cancer and stroke patients, and an increase in the diagnosis of other diseases, such as diabetes and Alzheimer's, more needs to be done. Research in pharmaceuticals that can delay the progression of certain diseases, offer protection against infectious illnesses, and provide active immunization against life-threatening agents is essential to our survival and the health of future generations.

In implementing the Government of Canada's Science and Technology Strategy, NRC is investing in and focusing its unique strengths and competencies on areas of vital importance to Canadians and the Canadian economy. That is why NRC is currently developing a Biopharmaceuticals Key Sector Plan that will be launched next summer.

But what exactly do we mean by biopharmaceuticals? The biopharmaceutical sector involves the convergence of biotechnologies and pharmaceutical sciences. It is viewed as the largest component of biotechnology. For NRC's purposes, this key sector will focus on technologies directly supporting the development of the next generation of drugs.

NRC has been involved in biopharmaceuticals for many years, advancing research in the field of cancer and developing vaccines that save countless lives around the world. To showcase some of our projects, here are a few examples of the many biopharmaceutical-related projects that are currently underway.

NRC is developing technology platforms, diagnostics and therapeutics to alleviate brain aging and chronic brain diseases, such as those manifested in Alzheimer's disease and stroke. NRC scientists are also exploiting their expertise in vascular and molecular neuroscience by developing innovative technologies for cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

Another interesting research component is NRC's antibody program, where antibodies are used for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, neurological disorders and cancer.

Through the BioProcess Centre (a pilot plant for bioprocessing), NRC is working on several innovative technologies. For example, NRC researchers are currently developing more efficient expression systems as well as production and purification processes for emerging biotherapeutics, which are used to treat diseases with drugs, vaccines or antitoxins.

NRC is also helping small- and medium-sized businesses accelerate the development and marketing of their innovations, creating opportunities for highly-skilled workers and enhancing Canada's economic viability in areas such as targeted molecular therapies, medical chemistry and in vivo pharmacology.

As we continue to implement the NRC strategy, Science at Work for Canada, and pursue the development of our key sector plans, NRC scientists will carry on with these and many other essential research projects that have a direct impact on Canada's economy and on the health of Canadians.

Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada

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