Mining for Miracles takes on rare diseases with $3-million pledge to BC Children’s Hospital

January 21, 2015 – Prince George, BC –Mining for Miracles will help families solve challenges related to diagnosing rare medical conditions in pediatric patients with a new funding initiative for BC Children’s Hospital, announced today during the 2015 Natural Resources Forum in Prince George, BC. In 2015 and 2016, Mining for Miracles will raise $3 million through BC Children’s Hospital Foundation to support the development of the CAUSES Clinic. Premier Christy Clark joined the BC mining industry representatives to launch the initiative.

 

"BC’s mining industry has raised more than $23 million for BC Children's Hospital through this campaign,” said Premier Clark. “Mining for Miracles is a clear example of how our resource sector benefits communities right across British Columbia."

 

The new CAUSES Clinic will provide diagnostic DNA testing to support the accurate and efficient diagnosis of rare genetic diseases in children who would otherwise require numerous tests or might not be diagnosed at all. The CAUSES Clinic will also provide families with genetic counselling, clinical interpretation of complex testing results, and personalized recommendations for treatment.

 

“Today, a child with an undiagnosed illness has to endure a multitude of tests over many months that in the end might not even result in a diagnosis. With one test, the CAUSES Clinic is expected to provide a rapid and conclusive diagnosis in 50 to 70 per cent of children tested,” said Jason Weber, 2015 Co-Chair of Mining for Miracles. “For children with a treatable condition, this allows their treatment to be started immediately.”

Genome British Columbia has pledged to match Mining for Miracles’ commitment up to an additional $1 million and, in cooperation with the CAUSES Clinic, is seeking opportunities to leverage this partnership to secure additional funding.

 

At least 500 children and their family members will be tested at the CAUSES Clinic over the next three years. The CAUSES Clinic’s single test will reduce the number of invasive tests required, such as biopsies, biochemical tests, expensive single gene tests or MRI scans, which may even require sedation. There are 7,000 known genetic disorders and the CAUSES Clinic will use a single genomic test capable of identifying all of these at once. This may reduce the number of tests required to diagnose a patient’s condition from 10 or more to just one. This has the potential to reduce costs to families and the health-care system.

 

“Since 1988, BC’s mining industry has raised more than $23.4 million for the children and families who visit BC Children’s Hospital, and 100 per cent of the funds raised by Mining for Miracles go directly to the areas of need,” said Jeff Hanman, 2015 Co-Chair of Mining for Miracles.

 

As in previous years, the success of Mining for Miracles depends on the generosity of individuals and corporations throughout British Columbia. Donations can be made through employee and corporate fundraising initiatives or through fundraising events such as Jeans Day™, the Diamond Draw, Slo-Pitch Tournament or the Teck Celebrity Pie Throw, taking place on May 7, 2015. Visit www.miningformiracles.ca for more information and to donate.

 

About Mining for Miracles

Every year volunteers from the mining community work together through Mining for Miracles to help improve the quality of health care for children in our province. Through its support of the construction of facilities and acquisition of specialized medical equipment at the hospital, Mining for Miracles is helping to keep BC Children's Hospital at the forefront of pediatric care excellence. Visit www.miningformiracles.ca for more information and to donate.

 

About the CAUSES Clinic

The CAUSES Clinic will provide advanced DNA testing, clinical interpretation, genetic counselling, and personalized recommendations for treatment for children with complex, undiagnosed medical conditions. There are more than 7,000 known genetic disorders, and the CAUSES Clinic will test for all of these using one genomic test. If advanced DNA testing identifies a child with a treatable condition, then treatment can be started earlier. For some children, this will be life-changing.  Obtaining the right treatment earlier will help prevent medical complications and save lives. The CAUSES Clinic is made possible by a $3-million commitment from Mining for Miracles through BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and is supported by the Provincial Health Services Authority and the University of British Columbia. The CAUSES Clinic will ensure that BC Children’s Hospital remains a centre of excellence providing outstanding care to the children and families of British Columbia.

 

The CAUSES Clinic will:

  • Test at least 500 children and family members within the next three years to identify illnesses that would previously have gone undiagnosed;
  • Provide genetic counselling, interpretation of complex testing results, and personalized treatment recommendations for children who receive a diagnosis from the Clinic’s advanced DNA testing;
  • Help reduce the number of invasive tests – such as biopsies, biochemical tests, expensive single gene tests, or MRI scans often requiring sedation– needed to obtain a diagnosis for children. This is expected to reduce the average number of tests per child required for a diagnosis from 10 or more to one, resulting in significant savings for both families and the health-care system;
  • Help prevent medical complications. In cases where advanced DNA testing identifies a treatable condition in a child, then treatment can be started immediately. Obtaining the right treatment earlier will help prevent medical complications and save lives;
  • Partner with BC Children’s Hospital BioBank to store biological samples donated by patients, which will contribute to significant research discoveries.

 

About Genome British Columbia

Genome British Columbia is a catalyst for the life sciences cluster on Canada’s West Coast, and manages a cumulative portfolio of over $660 million in 211 research projects and science and technology platforms. Working with governments, academia and industry across sectors such as forestry, fisheries, agriculture, environment, bioenergy, mining and human health, the goal of the organization is to generate social and economic benefits for British Columbia and Canada. Genome BC is supported by the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada through Genome Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada and more than 300 international public and private co-funding partners.  www.genomebc.ca

 

 

For more information please contact:

 

 

Jason Weber

Mining for Miracles Co-Chair

604-807-7217

 

Veronika Pavlina

BC Children’s Hospital Foundation

Philanthropy Officer

604-875-2504

vpavlina@bcchf.ca

 

Jeff Hanman

Mining for Miracles Co-Chair

604 354-5230