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January 4, 2023

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:



  • Startup TNT spoke with Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation co-founder and CEO Andrew MacIsaac about keeping the life sciences startup momentum going in Alberta. “At API, we’re focused on really building out the commercial R&D capacity in Edmonton — that will help companies and the talent stay here,” he said.
  • KASTx Ventures has named Christian Idicula as its new chief operating officer. Based in Edmonton, Idicula previously served as director of operations for the firm, which is focused on commercializing life sciences research. “KASTx Ventures continues to demonstrate the value it adds to the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Alberta and Canada,” he said.
  • A new paper co-authored by Eleni Stroulia, director of the AI4Society Signature Area and acting vice dean of the faculty of science at the University of Alberta, looks at how a new community platform that works in conjunction with a tablet app impacted the care of long-term care residents.
  • University of Alberta law professor Timothy Caulfield has been appointed to the Order of Canada for his contributions to health law, policy, and combatting misinformation. “Misinformation is a defining issue of our time,” he told CBC News. “I think it’s good news that more and more people, including governments, are taking this battle against misinformation really seriously, because that’s what’s required.”
  • Three patients at the Royal Alexandra Hospital were the first in Canada to receive a new gene therapy for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, a group of diseases that all involve the retina and cause progressive decline and loss of vision.
  • DrugBank published another chapter in its blog series about data quality. As the startup tried to define the term, it found that “our convictions that data quality must be individualized and audience-specific only grew stronger.”
  • Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation published a look back at 2022, highlighting partnerships, milestones, and recognition. Looking ahead to 2023, API is the presenting partner of the Startup TNT Life Sciences Investment Summit, applications for which are being accepted until Jan. 24.
  • recently published paper co-authored by Les Hagen, an adjunct professor in the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health and executive director of the tobacco control charity ASH Canada, was the inspiration for the Global Tobacco Control Progress Hub which “gives an instant visual picture of how 180 countries are performing on more than 300 tobacco control measures, from taxation to restrictions on smoking and product labelling,” Folio reports.
  • S. Monty Ghosh, assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta, co-authored new research that found drug overdoses can be prevented by providing telephone supervision for people who are using alone. “Anywhere from 50-70% of overdoses and drug poisonings nationally occur in people’s own homes while they’re using alone,” he said. “That’s a huge portion of the population that we don’t seem to reach or be able to support with physical supervised consumption sites, which is the gold standard for supporting this population.”
  • The Stollery Children’s Hospital is the first hospital in Canada to join the Fontan Outcomes Network, which is dedicated to improving quality of life for people with single ventricle heart defects. “Being part of the Fontan Outcomes Network allows us to contribute data to a registry, and that registry allows us to participate in research studies, to better understand the early detection and treatment of Fontan-related complications,” said Dr. Andrew Mackie, a distinguished researcher at the hospital.


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