The Brain Canada Foundation has awarded the Douglas-Bell Canada Brain Bank (DBCBB) a Platform Support Grant totalling nearly $2.14 M. These funds are provided jointly from the Brain Canada Foundation and partners of the DBCBB, including the Réseau québécois suicide, les troubles de l'humeur et troubles associés (RQSHA), and the Douglas Research Centre.
The DBCBB, which is directed by Drs. Naguib Mechawar and Gustavo Turecki, is based at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute (McGill University affiliate) and has become one of the most important brain banks in the world. This 40-year old brain bank currently houses and manages over 3,600 brains, as well as a large relational database containing demographic, clinical and developmental histories from the donors. The DBCBB is one of the rare brain banks in North America to collect brains from people who suffered from different neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other dementias, as well as diverse mental disorders, including schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, substance use disorders, obtained from individuals who did or did not die by suicide (special collaboration with the Coroner's office). The DBCBB is internationally recognized, and thus receives tissue requests from a large number of neuroscientists from Canada and abroad. Requests for tissues come from leading international laboratories focusing on neurobiological processes as diverse as the normal expression of brain genes, histological changes associated with brain aneurysms, epigenetics processes associated with chronic cocaine use, and the neurobiological consequences of early-life adversity, to name just a few. More than 2,000 brain samples are prepared and sent to 30-50 researchers each year, and samples obtained from the DBCBB have been essential elements of several scientific breakthroughs reported in high-impact journals.
The new Brain Canada Platform Support Grant will have a significant impact on DBCBB operations. In particular, it will provide the necessary funds to maintain existing start-of-the-art equipment, increase capacity and efficiency, ensure that the DBCBB can continue delivering high-quality samples, and develop new procedures to acquire and bank new tissue types, which are increasingly requested by the research community.
Continued support of this essential platform enables researchers to better understand the causes and mechanisms of brain diseases and inform future approaches to prevention and management of brain disease.