First-ever CANADA-HOPE Scholarships awarded

Research to focus on improving the health of people in developing countries

OTTAWA, ONTARIO (October 4, 2006) -- The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health, Dr. Alan Bernstein, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Mr. Jérôme Silvestre, President of sanofi-aventis Canada Inc., today announced the first three recipients of a CANADA-HOPE Scholarship. The scholarship recipients are studying healthy aging, organ damage and stroke research. The funding for this initiative was announced by CIHR in October 2005.

The three scholarships announced today are supported by the CANADA-HOPE Scholarship Program. This joint program was developed and supported by CIHR via its CIHR/Rx&D Collaborative Research Program, in partnership with sanofi-aventis Canada Inc..

Under this program, during the first two years, the three researchers are mentored in Canada where they are exposed to some of the best Canadian science, laboratories and training environments. Their research projects will be transferred to their home institution when they return to India for the remaining two years of the program.

"Canada's new government is committed to forging new ways to develop international collaborative efforts between researchers," said Minister Clement. "The CANADA-HOPE Scholarship is an innovative program with the potential to lead to the development of sustainable research programs that benefit both Canadians and people around the world."

"CANADA-HOPE Scholarships offer an exciting opportunity for outstanding young researchers from developing countries to develop their research skills further in Canada." said Dr. Bernstein. "We hope that as a result of receiving these scholarships these researchers will establish productive research programs in their home country. Canada will benefit from their energy and skills and through the establishment of long-term relationships. "

The three recipients are:

  • Dr. Sabu Aliyar, from the Centre for Development Studies in India, who is working with Dr. Shanthi Johnson of Acadia University in implementing research on healthy aging that will lead to programs and policies to support healthy aging in India;
  • Dr. Denis Xavier, from the St. John's Academy for Health Sciences in Bangalore, India who is working with Drs. Sonia Anand and Philip Devereaux at McMaster University in the international study which aims to determine the importance of well-known and emerging factors for different types of stroke; and
  • Dr. Biju George, from the Health Action by People (India), who is working with Dr. Subrata Chakrabarti at The University of Western Ontario to identify biomarkers for early detection of organ damage by hypertension and diabetes.

"Sanofi-aventis is proud to support the CANADA-HOPE Scholarship Program. Supporting young researchers around the world to develop themselves in their field of research and give them the opportunity to share their experience with Canadian researchers is well in line with our focus on innovation as a company". said Jérôme Silvestre, President of sanofi-aventis Canada Inc.

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CIHR is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 10,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada. www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca

CIHR/Rx&D Collaborative Research Program enables scientists, clinicians and members of the full spectrum of health professions, and Rx&D members to optimize opportunities in clinical research benefiting the health of Canadians.

Canada's Rx&D is a national association representing over fifty research-based pharmaceutical companies in Canada. The mission of Rx&D is to improve the quality of life of all Canadians and enhance our health care system by fostering the discovery, development and availability of new medicines. www.canadapharma.org/

Sanofi-aventis is the world's third largest pharmaceutical company, ranking number one in Europe. Backed by a world-class R&D organization, sanofi-aventis is developing leading positions in seven major therapeutic areas: cardiovascular, thrombosis, oncology, metabolic disorders, central nervous system, internal medicine and vaccines. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT : SAN) and in New York (NYSE : SNY).

In Canada, the pharmaceutical business of sanofi-aventis Canada Inc. employs over 1,140 people and has its headquarters in Laval, Quebec. www.sanofi-aventis.ca

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Sylvain Clermont
sanofi-aventis
Tel: 514-956-6120
E-mail: sylvain.clermont@sanofi-aventis.com

Eric Waddell
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Tel: (613) 957-0200

CANADA-HOPE Scholarship Program
Project Backgrounders

Implementing Aging and Health Research in India

The aging population phenomenon is observed in several developed and developing countries, for example, Canada and India. The growth in the proportion of older adults has been attributed to the increase in life expectancy and the decrease in mortality and birth rates. These demographic transitions have taken place for over 100 years in developed countries, but within a short span of only 35 years in developing countries. In developing countries, there is a lack of promotion of population-based healthy aging. Dr. Sabu Aliyar from the Centre for Development Studies in India is teaming up with mentor Dr. Shanthi Johnson at Acadia University to implement long-term aging and health research collaboration in India. In particular, they will be examining health status and healthy life expectancy as well as multidisciplinary approaches to the prevention of falls and health promotion among the elderly both in community-based and long-term care settings in Canada and India.

Reducing the global burden of stroke

Stroke is a major public health problem that contributes significantly to the global burden of disease. It is the third leading cause of death (two-thirds of which occurs in developing countries) and the leading cause of adult disability. Conventional and emerging risk factors for stroke have only been identified for developed countries of the West. Dr. Denis Xavier from St. John's Medical College in Bangalore, India, is conducting a case-control study of 1,600 cases [patients with stroke] and 1,600 controls [subjects without stroke, but who are of the same sex and similar in age to the patient] in seven countries [Argentina, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, India and South Africa] and from five different ethnic groups. Drs. Sonia Anand and Philip Devereaux, at McMaster University are helping him in this study.

Identifying biomarkers for early detection of organ damage by hypertension and diabetes

Hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease and chronic renal failure are significant diseases in Kerala (India). The prevalence of hypertension/diabetes in this region is already one of the highest in India. The major cause of mortality and morbidity in these two diseases are due to the target organ damages leading to development of nephropathy, retinopathy and neuropathy. Dr. Biju George from Health Action by People (India) is collaborating with mentor Dr. Subrata Chakrabarti at The University of Western Ontario to identify diagnostic biomarkers for early detection of organ damage in individuals with diabetes.


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