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Healthcare Innovation

Pushing Boundaries and Blazing Trails

A Century of Canadian Medical Research

Home to some of the finest minds working in health research today, Canada has earned its bragging rights.

This year, to celebrate some of these trailblazers, Canadian Institutes of Health Research in Ottawa awarded four Gold Leaf Prizes for excellence in the field. The prizes went to Dr. John Dick, the first scientist to identify cancer stem cells; the British Columbia Centre for its excellence in providing HIV/AIDS care, treatment, and education; Dr. Gregory Steinberg who researched the role obesity plays on type 2 diabetes at the molecular level, and Dr. Charlotte Loppie for her work with empowering Indigenous communities and addressing the health disparities faced by First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

Move Over Silicon Valley

Canadian innovators in healthcare are refining and reinventing.

Vancouver-based STEMCELL Technologies is a provider of specialty cell culture media, instruments, tools and services to scientists working on critical life science research. “In supporting global biomedical research, our products are helping solve one of the world’s greatest problems, using Canadian technology to ultimately improve quality, decrease costs and increase access to healthcare,” stated Andrew Booth, Chief Commercial Officer of STEMCELL Technologies.

Olympus Corporation was born in Tokyo nearly 100 years ago and has never once stopped striving for perfection. With its deeply rooted Canadian arm, Olympus Canada, the company is known for top-of-the-line consumer photography equipment, but also leads the way in the development of life-saving medical and surgical technology, particularly in the field of gastroenterology.

University research institutions also play an important role in medical research and advancement in Canada, with the government supporting scientific R&D at private companies through the Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program.

The True Mobility of Healthcare

Practitioners, administrators, insurance providers, and patients are ready for innovation to tackle the paperwork process; this is one of reasons why there’s a rush to implement cloud-based, mobile solutions.

Associate Vice President of Marketing at MEDITECH, Christine Parent, commented: “Healthcare organizations are going to need efficient, cost-effective, cloud-based systems that help improve clinicians’ productivity.” Today, MEDITECH’s web-based Electronic Health Record (EHR) provides an intuitive, clinically sophisticated, and integrated toolset which allows for true mobility.

Mobile software tools created by Calgary Scientific Inc., based in Alberta’s tech hub, enable doctors to view, share, and analyze patient data, scans, and medical images remotely. This technology allows healthcare professionals to collaborate and diagnose patients through a highly secure platform from their laptop, phone, or tablet. This kind of modern convenience and accuracy has Calgary Scientific working arduously to get its software into the hands of medical professionals across North America.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Genome Project

Like something out of a sci-fi program and beyond intriguing, Sequence Bio, a Newfoundland and Labrador biotechnology company, is hoping to study the province’s own genetically unique population. “Newfoundland and Labrador is a founder population genetically; there are only a handful around the world. We believe that this population could be one of the best for contributing to the drug discovery process,” explained Sequence Bio Co-founder and CEO, Chris Gardner.

The “Founder Effect” is a rare phenomenon that occurs when a geographic population is established by a small number of people, and, over the course of many generations, the population stays relatively isolated. This seclusion leads to a loss of genetic diversity that can be meticulously studied and investigated to help scientists better understand the relationship between human disease and genetics.


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