The Health Innovation Roundup, sponsored by Health Cities, 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:


        • The Edmonton Kidney Transplant Program has transformed 49 lives in a record number of kidney transplants thanks to the generosity of donors who have participated in the living donor programs. “The demand for kidney transplants in Alberta is greater than our ability to recover healthy kidneys, both in the province and across Canada,” said Dr. Sita Gourishankar, director of Edmonton’s Living Donor Kidney Transplant Program. Local companies working to improve the quantity and success of organ transplants include Tevosol, which makes machines that support the transport of organs, and PanTHERA CryoSolutions, which makes technology to support the storage of cells.
        • DrugBank shared the details of its Thriving Lifestyle Compensation Philosophy, which includes a healthy living wage, rewards for exceptional performance, and equal pay for equal work.
        • Health Cities CEO Reg Joseph spoke with Dr. Christy Raymond, dean of the faculty of nursing at MacEwan University, about the role of post-secondaries in innovation and technology in health.
        • University of Alberta researcher David Wishart is focused on gaining a deeper understanding of cancer as a metabolic disease. While there has been research on cancer as a genetic and environmental disease, more is needed to understand the chemical byproducts of the process of metabolism, which could contribute to prevention. “If we understand the causes of cancer, then we can start highlighting the known causes, the lifestyle issues that introduce or increase our risk,” Wishart explained. “From the prevention side, changing our metabolism through lifestyle adjustments will make a huge difference in the incidence of cancer.”
        • The Alberta Cancer Foundation has launched its campaign We Cross Cancer to raise $30 million to support innovation and research at the Cross Cancer Institute. Among other impacts, the funding would allow for a doubling in the number of patients put on clinical trials every year, from 500 to 1,000.
        • Service Alberta Minister Nate Glubish told Postmedia that the plan to modernize Alberta’s health care cards will have to wait until after next May’s election due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We need to make our motor vehicles registry systems able to talk to Alberta Health Systems and that sounds simple but it actually requires an enormous amount of technology work and upgrades,” he said. The project’s budget is still $20 million over three years.
        • The Alberta Innovates High School Youth Researcher Summer Program (HYRS) is seeking hosts from a variety of health and medical science areas, including those in digital health, data-enabled health transformation, and health innovation to provide research experience for six weeks in the summer to grade 11 students from across Alberta.
        • New research at the University of Alberta has uncovered the connection between impaired motor skills and medical cannabis treatment which could help create better strains of medical cannabis to reduce cognitive dysfunction yet still offer the benefits of pain relief. The research could also lead to better roadside blood tests for impairment, Folio reports.
        • A new book by Dr. Peter Silverstone, a professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Alberta, looks at the combination of psychedelics and new therapy as a treatment for mental health. Called Promise of Psychedelics: Science Based Hope for Better Mental Health, the book promises to introduce readers to “the most recent science advancing our understanding of psychedelics, including what they are, how they work, what the risks are, and which ones will transform mental health treatment for millions of patients.”
        • Ron Sulatycky has joined Health Cities as senior advisor for the Health Analytics and Diagnostics Cluster to help companies navigate the ecosystem and form connections.


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