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The McEwen Stem Cell Institute was established in December 2018 with a mission to develop new stem cell-based therapies for chronic diseases with unmet clinical needs. Formerly the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, the Institute has been a recognized leader in stem cell research and regenerative medicine since 2007 and is home to five internationally recognized scientists with expertise in stem cell and human developmental biology. Our team of scientists is currently focused on developing therapies in four major disease areas — heart disease, liver disease, diabetes and blood cell diseases.
Made possible through the generosity of Rob and Cheryl McEwen, the McEwen Stem Cell Institute brings together scientists, clinicians, investors and philanthropists to deliver on our translational goals. As part of the University Health Network, we collaborate with research institutions around the globe and have forged groundbreaking partnerships to move theory to therapy.
Supported by some of the best and brightest pioneers in the field of regenerative medicine, we are focused on restoring heart function, making electronic pacemakers obsolete, healing liver disease, eliminating insulin injections, and beating blood diseases. With what was once impossible now within our grasp, we are seizing the moment to accelerate our ability to create, collaborate and cure.
Regeneration of the blood system through the transplantation of blood-forming stem cells (commonly referred to as bone marrow transplantation) is an effective treatment for a range of blood cell diseases, including leukemia.
Beta cells produced from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) represent a new and potentially unlimited source of islet cells for transplantation for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.
Transplantation of cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells) produced from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) offers a potential new therapy that could, for the first time, remuscularize and repair the heart.
The regeneration and repair of damaged and diseased livers through transplantation of new liver cells made from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) offers a potential new therapy to treat patients.
First in the world to develop heart progenitor cells, giving hope for testing drugs and treating heart failure patients.(Dr. Gordon Keller)
Generate polyhormonal cells that are insulin producing.(Dr. Gordon Keller)
Identify new approaches to mature liver cells to stage of efficient drug metabolization.(Dr. Gordon Keller)
Isolate pure population of cardiomyocytes and identify epicardium and endocardium.(Dr. Gordon Keller)
Discover a pre-leukemic stem cell that may be the first step in initiating disease and also the culprit that evades therapy and triggers relapse in patients with acute myeloid leukemia(AML).(Dr. John Dick)
Develop human cartilage tissue from human stem cells.(Dr. Gordon Keller)
Demonstrate a new method to produce cholangiocytes (bile duct cells) from human pluripotent stem cells by providing stem cells with certain activators at specific times during the production process.(Dr. Gordon Keller and Dr. Shinichiro Ogawa)
December 12, 2016
McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine receives backing from BlueRock Therapeutics. Work of UHN scientists among first projects for new stem-cell research company to commercialize an approach to regenerate heart muscle in patients who have had a heart attack or who suffer from chronic heart failure.
December 14, 2016
Develop the first functional pacemaker cells from human stem cells, paving the way for alternate, biological pacemaker therapy.(Dr. Gordon Keller and Dr. Stephanie Protze)
Protze, S. I., Liu, J., Nussinovitch, U., Ohana, L., Backx, P. H., Gepstein, L., & Keller, G. M. (2017). Sinoatrial node cardiomyocytes derived from human pluripotent cells function as a biological pacemaker. Nature biotechnology, 35(1), 56–68. https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt.3745
August 24, 2017
Develop a new method to identify and purify cells that develop into insulin-producing cells from human stem cells, creating opportunities for new therapies and safer transplants in patients with type 1 diabetes.(Dr. Maria Cristina Nostro)
Cogger, K. F., Sinha, A., Sarangi, F., McGaugh, E. C., Saunders, D., Dorrell, C., Mejia-Guerrero, S., Aghazadeh, Y., Rourke, J. L., Screaton, R. A., Grompe, M., Streeter, P. R., Powers, A. C., Brissova, M., Kislinger, T., & Nostro, M. C. (2017). Glycoprotein 2 is a specific cell surface marker of human pancreatic progenitors. Nature communications, 8(1), 331. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-00561-0
December 6, 2018
McEwen Stem Cell Institute is established.
August 8, 2019
Bayer announces USD $1 billion acquisition of BlueRock Therapeutics, a company scientifically co-founded by Drs. Gordon Keller and Michael Laflamme.
November 6, 2019
Dr. Gordon Keller receives top award—2019 Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize—for his work in differentiating stem cells into multiple cell types.
July 7, 2020
Pioneer the generation of functional liver blood vessel cells from stem cells, enabling the development of new therapies for disorders such as hemophilia A.(Dr. Gordon Keller)
September 25, 2020
Develop first optical map of electric activity from engrafted stem cell-derived heart cells provides key insights on electric function.(Dr. Michael Laflamme)
October 11, 2020
Dr. Cristina Nostro receives Business Excellence Award for Innovation and Science from the Italian Chamber of Commerce Canada.
October 27, 2020
Identify key signalling molecule responsible for generating endocardial cells, which line the inside of the heart, paving the way for new therapies for valve diseases.(Dr. Gordon Keller)
November 25, 2020
Dr. Gordon Keller received Bloom Burton award for his work as the scientific co-founder of BlueRock Therapeutics.
November 27, 2020
Dr. Cristina Nostro receives 1 of 2 national CIHR-JDRF grants totalling $3M to develop stem cell-based therapies for Type 1 Diabetes. She leads an expert team of scientists across Canada with expertise in stem cell biology, vascular biology, islet transplantation and beta cell biology.
December 16, 2020
Drs. Gordon Keller and Michael Laflamme receive UHN Local Impact Award for Commercialization in recognition of their pioneering work that led to the creation of BlueRock Therapeutics.
May 26, 2021
Dr. Gordon Keller develops a scalable protocol to develop heart muscle from human pluripotent stem cells. These cells have adult-like features, and can be used for disease modelling and treatment.
June 2, 2021
Dr. Gordon Keller named co-recipient of 2021 Scientific Grand Prize from the Lefoulon Delalande Foundation at the Institute de France.
June 15, 2021
Dr. Michael Laflamme appointed Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine.
September 3, 2021
Dr. Cristina Nostro and Dr. Sara Vasconcelos show that microvessels can increase the survival and functionality of transplanted pancreatic cells.
November 15, 2021
Dr. Shinichiro Ogawa uses pluripotent stem cells to generate cholangiocytes, which can be used to restore bile function in patients with biliary disease.
December 20, 2021
Dr. Gordon Keller identifies pluripotent stem cell-derived blood cell precursor that gives rise to multiple blood lineages.
January 28, 2022
Dr. Michael Laflamme develops new technique to generate mature heart cells that confer improved outcomes in laboratory models of heart disease.
March 31, 2022
Dr. Cristina Nostro develops new method to improve safety of cell therapy for Type 1 Diabetes to mark 100 years since insulin was first used in clinic.
April 5, 2022
Dr. Gordon Keller demonstrates reversal of hemophilia A with proof-of-concept cell therapy in laboratory model.
September 1, 2022
Dr. Gordon Keller develops a comprehensive map of human cardiovascular development, enabling the development of chamber-specific cell-based therapies.
March 1, 2023
Dr. Michael Laflamme receives $23.6 million in Government of Canada funding as part of the New Frontiers in Research Fund – Transformation stream. Dr. Laflamme is 1 of 6 national recipients of this prestigious award, and will lead a team of researchers to develop state-of-the-art cell and regenerative therapies for heart disease.
McEwen Stem Cell InstituteMaRS Centre, Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower101 College St., Toronto, ON, M5G 1L7
Every dollar you donate empowers our investigators to accelerate discoveries by pursuing bold ideas, developing new technologies and delivering innovative solutions. Help us to create, collaborate and cure by donating today.
Shannon Carkner, CFRECampaign Director, Major GiftsPhone: 437 335 1156Email:
McEwen Stem Cell InstituteUHN Foundation R. Fraser Elliott Building, 5th Floor, 5S-801190 Elizabeth St., Toronto, ON, M5G 2C4