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Released on March 20, 2006

The University of Saskatchewan received more than $6.2 million today from the province's Innovation and Science Fund for the Biomedical Imaging and Therapy beamline (BMIT) at the Canadian Light Source synchrotron. The funding matches federal funding provided by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.

"This new beamline will increase construction jobs that will boost the local economy," Advanced Education and Employment Minister Pat Atkinson said. It will also increase the number of research-related jobs that attract world-class faculty and provide important opportunities for graduate students."

"Saskatchewan's Action Plan for the Economy sets out research and innovation as one of four strategic investment areas to strengthen Saskatchewan's economy. This funding builds on the government's commitment that brought Canada's largest science project in more than 30 years to our province and the associated research and economic benefits the synchrotron provides."

"This beamline, the most ambitious at the Canadian Light Source to date, will be a key part of our unique and powerful life sciences research cluster centred on the University of Saskatchewan," U of S President Peter MacKinnon said. "It is a stellar example of the convergence of U of S expertise and the commitment of our partners such as the Saskatchewan government, as well as the leadership role of the Saskatoon Health Region and the crucial support of the health research community."

"The provincial government, University of Saskatchewan, and the other stakeholders are to be commended for their ongoing commitment to, and support of, the Canadian Light Source and the Biomedical Imaging and Therapy beamline," Saskatoon Health Region CEO and President Maura Davies said. "The beamline positions Saskatoon to grow its reputation as an academic health sciences community, attract and retain local and world renown clinicians and researchers, and pave the way for new advances in diagnosis and treatment of various diseases and conditions."

BMIT is a revolutionary new tool for the imaging, study and treatment of disease. When completed in 2008, it will be the first of its kind in North America and one of three leading-edge synchrotron biomedical facilities in the world.

It will use synchrotron X-rays to produce images of the body's tissues with much greater clarity than any other method, and allow the precise delivery of high-energy X-rays for the treatment of cancer. As a research tool, it will help advance the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, circulatory and respiratory disease, neurological and behavioural diseases, reproductive dysfunction, musculo-skeletal disease and dental conditions. BMIT's ability to conduct therapies on living subjects, including plants and animals, positions the facility as a world leader in veterinary and medical imaging.

The Innovation and Science Fund supports research at Saskatchewan's universities, colleges, and research institutes on projects receiving approval and funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the Canada Research Chairs Program and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Since the fund was established in 2000, the provincial government has contributed nearly $62 million toward research and related infrastructure.


For More Information, Contact:

Jacquie McLean
Phone: (306) 787-5609

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