Understanding the Canadian Institutions of Health Research and Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes

In this article, our thoughts are directed towards understanding the Canadian Institutions of Health Research (CIHR) and The Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (INMD)

The Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (INMD) is a branch of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The CIHR Canada’s federal funding for health research1, who collaborate with partners and researchers to find solutions that improve the healthcare system of Canada. This article concerns how, and if, the CIHR continuing to support excellence in health research is still their top priority, this will be done with a focus on the INMD.

The CIHR’s role is to fund research that furthers the development of the Canadian healthcare system. For example, the CIHR have recently made a new line of funding available for researchers. This line of funding relates to stem cell-based therapies for Type 1 diabetes2. This new initiative will award funds to researchers in 2021, the 100th year anniversary of when two Canadian scientists (Drs Banting & McLeod) received a Nobel prize for the discovery of insulin. The CIHR states that “Millions of lives have been saved due to this discovery, yet the prevalence of diabetes continues to increase and diabetes remains a chronic disease3”. Therefore, they have announced this new initiative in order to ensure innovation continues within medical research in Canada.

The INMD’s role specifically regards research into diet, digestion, excretion and metabolism. This is to ensure that they improve treatments relating to these areas as well as focussing on improving screening, prevention, diagnosis and support systems.

The current head of the INMD is Dr Norman Rosenblum, “a professor of paediatrics, physiology, and laboratory medicine and pathobiology at the University of Toronto, and a paediatric nephrologist and senior scientist at the Research Institute of The Hospital for Sick Children”4.

“The CIHR’s role is to fund research that furthers the development of the Canadian healthcare system. For example, the CIHR have recently made a new line of funding available for researchers. This line of funding relates to stem cell-based therapies for Type 1 diabetes.”

An example of a research area that has recently been funded by the INMD are studies related to sugar intake and the resulting formulation of sugar reduction strategies based upon this research5. The CIHR, in conjunction with the INMD, have invested $2 million (Canadian Dollars), into this area of research in order to more effectively “discourage excess sugar consumption”6.

As a result of this funding there has been vital research regarding the sugar intake of Canadian children7, beverages containing artificial sweeteners8 and how nutrition labels and taxation could reduce sugar consumption9.

The INMD has three strategic research priorities:

  • Priority one: Food and Health.
  • Priority two: Environments, Genes and Chronic Diseases.
  • Priority three: Obesity and Healthy Body Weight: Seeking Solutions.

The research listed in the previous paragraph pertains to the first and third strategic priorities but it is also important to discuss priority two when considering the full scope of the INMD’s role and what research it funds. This priority concerns funding research that explores how environment and genes can exacerbate, or cause, chronic diseases.

As a result of this, the INMD fund research in this area via a series of grants referred to as: Programmatic Grants in Environments, Genes and Chronic Disease”. Research that has been funded includes the following10:

  • The Developmental Origins of Obesity and Obesity-related Complications in Children.
  • Gene and environment effects on lung health and risk for chronic respiratory disease, asthma & COPD.
  • Programmatic research to understand how modifiable environmental factors interact with the genome in the development of asthma.

The research listed within this article is evidence of the CIHR and INMD’s commitment to positioning Canada as a leader of innovative health research in these areas. Being a global research leader is a top priority of the CIHR and it is one they’re achieving.

 

References
1 https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/193.html

2 https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/51687.html

3 https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/51687.html

4 https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/12059.html

5 https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/50611.html

6 ibid

7 https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/50609.html

8 https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/50601.html

9 https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/50610.html

10 https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/49868.html

 

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