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Hamilton researchers to see part of federal funding for clinical trials, research projects

A lab technician looks at a computer screen during clinical trials on a COVID-19 vaccine. McMaster University researchers will benefit from some $131 million in federal funds earmarked to better clinical trials across Canada. AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

McMaster University researchers will get a significant chunk of federal funding earmarked for clinical trials and research projects across Canada to aid in the fight against a number of health disorders.

Of $131 million being invested by Ottawa, McMaster is tied to about $61 million in projects to improve Canada’s capacity to conduct clinical trials.

The investment, revealed during an announcement at the DeGroote Centre for Learning & Discovery Thursday, is Canada’s largest-ever spent on a clinical trials initiative and will drop $39 million into a pan-Canadian trials consortium.

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Dr. PJ Devereaux, the head of the new consortium, says the aim is to expand and create new networks for randomized controlled clinical trials (RCTs) across the country aiding some 230 researchers in expanding their ventures and improve knowledge sharing.

He suggested the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the flaws in Canada’s capacity to quickly ramp up medical research and RCTs.

“As a result, Canada was dependent on other countries like the United Kingdom, which conducted trials efficiently and established other treatments that substantially reduced mortality,” Devereaux explained.

Read more: A mucosal vaccine could be a COVID-19 game-changer. So why doesn’t Canada have one?

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The Accelerated Clinical Trials (ACT) consortium will consist of 11 units geographically located across Canada, with 28 research networks focusing on disease states, patient populations and interventions.

Another $32 million of federal money is set to be dropped into clinical trials training platforms, targeting seven platforms training the next generation of clinical scientists and researchers.

The remain $60 million will be for existing projects including one at McMaster evaluating the safety and effectiveness of an inhaled aerosol vaccine.

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Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas MP and FedDev Ontario Minister Filomena Tassi says the money will help Canada prepare for future health emergencies, like pandemics.

“The collaboration is critical, the teamwork is critical, and we want to bring all Canadians together so that we are putting our best foot forward and ensuring that we are getting ahead of of any future health challenges,” Tassi told Global News.

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