SFU team receives funding to expand system of worldwide health research databases

iReceptor team members (left to right) Emily Barr, Bojan Zimonja, Brian Corrie, Pam Borghardt (front), Laura Gutierre Funderburk, Colin Qiao and Jerome Jaglale.

September 04, 2018

The Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) today announced $800,000 in funding to expand Simon Fraser University’s iReceptor initiative. It is expected that this funding will be part of a Canada/EU flagship project totaling more than $12M Canadian over four years.

iReceptor is a newly developed platform for managing massive repositories of worldwide distributed data that researchers can securely access in their quest to develop new therapies for autoimmune and infectious diseases, and cancer.

Felix Breden, iReceptor’s scientific director and SFU professor of Biological Sciences, says many cutting-edge therapies rely on manipulating the immune system so that it triggers the body’s ability to recognize and remove cancer cells and infectious pathogens.

With iReceptor, researchers around the world will be able to share and analyze huge datasets taken from healthy and unhealthy patients that have been sequenced and stored in databanks in multiple countries.

Breden notes that, when fully developed, iReceptor will be revolutionary.

“Not only will we have a better understanding of the causes of infectious and autoimmune disease and cancer, but we hope this will lead to early detection, new therapies and improved patient care around the world,” he says.

SFU’s Associate Vice-President, Research, Dugan O’Neil says, “This is great news, not just for SFU and Felix Breden’s team, but for immunotherapy researchers at large.” He adds, "We congratulate everyone involved in this collaborative project and thank CIHR for their support of the project.”