The Health Innovation Roundup, sponsored by Health City, is written and published weekly by Taproot Edmonton to bring you the latest news and events in research, technology, companies and people changing health for the better in Edmonton.

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Here are some highlights from this week’s Health Innovation Roundup:

Local headlines

  • Diagnostic lab DynaLIFE and Edmonton-based machine learning company AltaML are teaming up to develop a digital pathology project that aims to eventually be able to identify colon polyps. The companies hope by employing artificial intelligence and machine learning they will be able to make faster, more accurate diagnoses — starting with colon polyps. DynaLIFE CEO Jason Pincock says the work in the pathology lab is fundamental to diagnosing diseases, but methodologies have remained largely unchanged in the past 150 years. “Partnering with AltaML where it allows both organizations to learn, grow and adapt together is crucial as we recognize that technology and the transformative power of digitization in the health and life sciences sector is ever-increasing at a rapid rate,” Pincock says in a news release.
  • Independent contractor Ernst and Young is conducting the first comprehensive review of Alberta Health Services. Feedback on how AHS can reduce costs and improve performance can be submitted here.
  • Francois Bolduc, a researcher out of the University of Alberta who studies Fragile X syndrome, is looking for participants for upcoming clinical trials in a four-month study of people with FXS who are six to 25-years-old. Bolduc and fellow researchers are looking at whether Type 2 diabetes medication Metformin can treat FXS.
  • University of Alberta PhD graduate student Heather Morris will study the role parents play in working towards a solution for the opioid epidemic.
  • Edmonton-based BioAlberta joined forces with Life Sciences Ontario and Montréal InVivo to warn that a new federal cap on the price of patented medication could mean a loss of jobs and stifling new medical research that could lead to new therapies. “The regulations will be devastating for Canada’s knowledge-based economy and have negative consequences for all Canadians who depend on timely access to new therapies,” said Mel Wong, president of BioAlberta.
  • Women and Children’s Health Research Institute executive director Dr. Sandra Davidge was one of 10 grant recipients at the University of Alberta who will split $2.2 million in funding through the Canadian Foundations for Innovations program. Davidge will use the funding to purchase imaging equipment that can examine the development of unborn babies to find out which babies are susceptible to a lack of oxygen.
  • Edmonton Journal columnist Nick Lees profiled the work of surgeon Dr. Keith Aronyk who helped bring the Gamma Knife surgery to the University of Alberta.


You’ll have to travel for:

Beyond Edmonton:

  • A report from the Canadian Medical Association says Canadians are willing to offer up data for health care innovation, but that government regulatory bodies, licencing and funding need to catch up.
  • An article in Time magazine warns artificial intelligence is not a panacea. “I think that all our patients should actually want AI technologies to be brought to bear on weaknesses in the health care system, but we need to do it in a non-Silicon Valley hype way,” Isaac Kohane, a biomedical informatics researcher at Harvard Medical School, told Time.

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