Ottawa is home to the latest in stem cell research

Our Regenerative Medicine Program is unlike any other in Canada and possibly the world. Our unique, collaborative approach is leading to world-first discoveries and disease expertise that is directly impacting the development of new treatments and our ability to provide better care. Our collective work is benefiting patients here and world-wide.


From bench to bedside–bringing stem cell discoveries to patients faster than ever.

From cell and molecular biologists to bioinformaticists, to clinical scientists, and methodologists, specialists are coming to Ottawa to be part of something truly special. Collectively, their expertise is resulting in unprecedented breakthroughs that can move from lab bench to bedside faster than ever. This means in new and exciting treatments, improved care, and ultimately better outcomes for our patients.

“We’re entering a new era. More and more we are going to see regenerative medicine use cellular and molecular tools to treat devastating diseases with no current therapy.”

— Dr. Michael Rudnicki, Director, Regenerative Medicine Program and Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research

What are stem cells?

Every tissue and organ in the body is made up of billions of cells, each with a specialized function. Stem cells are the blank-slates from which all other types of cells originate. They have the ability to divide and make exact copies of themselves or produce specialized cells that can then become new heart muscle cells, brain cells, or other types of cells that can repair damaged organs and tissues.

Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cells Research Update

Innovations thanks to donor support

Bone research gets a break
World-renowned bone stem cell experts are exploring how stem cells can help bones regenerate, repair and heal.
Life-altering Stem Cell Treatment for MS
Our world-first clinical trial virtually eliminated John's MS and gave him hope for the future.
Healing the lungs of premature babies
Stem cells could offer hope for premature babies with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD)

Stems cells make dream come true

When Jennifer Molson was 21 years old, she dreamed of becoming a police officer, marrying her boyfriend and dancing at her wedding. Those dreams were shattered when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Over a period of six years she had multiple relapses. She was in a wheelchair, unable to work, and looking for a miracle. That’s when Drs. Mark Freedman and Harry Atkins from the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute told her about an experimental treatment using stem cells. Jennifer became the sixth patient in a groundbreaking clinical trial during which stem cells were extracted from her bone marrow and transplanted back into her body. Jennifer found her miracle. Today she no longer needs a wheelchair. She is off medication, works full time, and leads an independent life. And, yes, she married her boyfriend and danced at her wedding.

“If you are in the computer business, you go to the Silicon Valley; if you are in oil and gas, you have to be in Alberta; if you are in stem cells, you need to be in Ontario, particularly Ottawa, because that is where the greatest advances are being made.”

— Dr. Bernard Thébaud, neonatologist at The Ottawa Hospital is developing a stem cell treatment to heal the lungs of premature babies.

Dr. Bernard Thébaud, Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

The Ottawa Hospital Foundation is raising money for research that is revolutionizing the care we provide patients.

Be Inspired

Stem cells may heal lungs of premature babies
A stem cell treatment soon to be tested in clinical trials at The Ottawa Hospital may help heal the lungs of premature babies.
Clinical trial means new options for colorectal cancer patients
Sandy Patenaude participated in a clinical trial of a cancer stem cell inhibitor drug, which successfully prevented her cancer from growing. As a result, doctors are able to determine which patients might benefit from the drug.
Stem cell treatment banishes disease for Multiple Sclerosis patient 
In 2001, John Chafe became just the second person in a world-first clinical trial  of its kind  that rebooted his immune system, virtually halted an aggressive form of MS, and stabilized his disease.