FRSQ, Inserm, CIHR Agree On Alzheimer's Disease Research

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The health research funding organizations of Quebec (the Fonds de la recherche en sante du Quebec, FRSQ), France (the Institut national de la sante et de la recherche medicale, Inserm) and Canada (the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction, and Institute of Aging) today signed a co-operation agreement on Alzheimer's disease research.

The announcement was made today at the Institut national de recherche scientifique (INRS-Sante), in Laval, in the presence of the Prime Minister of France, His Excellency Francois Fillon, and the Premier of Quebec, the Honourable Jean Charest. Also present at the event and representing Quebec were Michelle Courchesne, Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports and Minister of Families, and Raymond Bachand, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade and Minister of Tourism, while France was represented by Alain Joyandet, Secretary of State for Cooperation and the Francophonie, and Anne-Marie Idrac, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade.

The agreement provides for the funding of research projects that reflect specific objectives linked directly to the diagnosis, treatment or management of patients with Alzheimer's disease or related diseases. The projects must be significant and involve specialists in various disciplines, from various university and hospital institutions, forming multidisciplinary consortia. These consortia must be structured in such a way as to contribute original added value that each country would be unable to achieve alone.

The partners of the FRSQ in this agreement are the Ministere du Developpement economique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation and the Ministere de la Sante et des Services sociaux.

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Background

In France, this initiative flows from the ambition plan to combat Alzheimer's disease and related diseases launched February 1, 2008 by President Nicolas Sarkozy. This plan provides for creation of a scientific co-operation foundation in which academic and private partners will work together.

In Quebec, the project is in line with the mandate entrusted by the Minister of Health and Social Services, the Honourable Philippe Couillard, to the expert committee responsible for developing a national action plan with regard to care, services and quality of life in relation to Alzheimer's disease and related diseases, an action plan that is to be tabled in fall 2008.

"This project fits in naturally with the close scientific co-operation that has existed for many years between Quebec and France," said the Acting President and CEO of the FRSQ, Dr. Marielle Gascon-Barre. "That co-operation has proved especially fruitful in the neurosciences field, and it was clear that the establishment of a major shared program on Alzheimer's disease was needed."

Andre Syrota, Inserm's Director General, is delighted that the scientific cooperation between Inserm and the FRSQ, which goes back 40 years, is being strengthened today to deal with diseases that are undeniable priorities in the two countries.

"The Canadian Institutes of Health Research are pleased to be associated with this initiative, which is in line with the priorities of the Government of Canada and addresses a major national health problem," said Dr. Alain Beaudet, CIHR President. "We intend for this Franco-Quebec initiative to serve as the catalyst for a broader co-operation program throughout the country that will mobilize Canada's undeniable resources in this field."

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