Register to Join Canada’s Rare Diseases: Models and Mechanisms Database

Canada’s Stem Cell Network (SCN) and the Rare Diseases: Models and Mechanisms Network (RDMM)  are excited to announce a collaboration and new funding targeted at advancing the understanding of rare disorders and diseases, and, ultimately, the design of new therapies to benefit patients.

RDMM has recently expanded the scope of eligible model systems to include the use of human cells including primary patient-derived cells, cell lines derived from iPSCs, and organoids. This collaboration will help recruit stem cell scientists to the RDMM national registry and provide award supplements to human cell model researchers. Once registered, RDMM’s Scientific Advisory Committee will use the database to link researchers with expertise in a gene, pathway, or cellular system with clinician scientists who are working on new or understudied human rare disease genes.

Database registrants who meet the criteria for a given rare disease gene will be invited by RDMM to apply for a $30,000 RDMM Catalyst Grant. Successful recipients of an RDMM Catalyst Grant who are using stem cells/organoids to model a rare disease gene variant will then be considered by SCN for a $20,000 award supplement. The RDMM Catalyst Grant awards will be available on an ongoing basis through RDMM’s Catalyst Grant process. Up to five SCN award supplements will be available and will be awarded on a first-come, first-reviewed basis.

To enable funding through an RDMM Catalyst Grant, researchers must first register as a human cell model or model system researcher with the RDMM national registry. To register, please visit https://www.rare-diseases-catalyst-network.ca/register-as-a-model-organism-investigator.html.  

To learn more about RDMM, the rare disease gene matching process, and the RDMM Catalyst Grant process, visit https://www.rare-diseases-catalyst-network.ca/index.php.

For further information about the program contact Jonathan Draper, Ph.D., Vice President, Research and Training, Stem Cell Network at jdraper@stemcellnetwork.ca or Philip Hieter, Ph.D., FCAHS, FRSC, Professor, Medical Genetics, Michael Smith Laboratories, University of British Columbia at hieter@msl.ubc.ca.