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:


        • Clinical trials for Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy at the Cross Cancer Institute are showing “very promising results for some patients where chemotherapy and radiation have stopped working,” Alberta Health Services announced. The therapy genetically reprograms a patient’s immune cells to attack cancer cells; it has been used in children and adults with specific types of leukemia and lymphoma. “We expect the CAR T program to continue to grow for the next couple of years, and for more patients to receive this type of therapy,” Dr. Michael Chu, the oncologist leading the clinical trials, told Postmedia. Leukemia patient Don Goss received the therapy after he suffered a relapse. “It was a whirlwind rollercoaster to change your mindset from going to die to now you have some hope,” he said.
        • Lenica Research Group announced a strategic partnership with Allegori, a neuroscience innovation company based in Trinidad and Tobago that measures and records electrical activity in the brain to customize online mindfulness and cognitive therapy sessions. Allegori will be integrating its EEG headsets with Lenica’s “Peak Health platform” to access a broader range of diagnostic and analytical tools. “This is the first of several key alliances we expect to unveil as Lenica expands the reach of its virtual cognitive therapeutic healthcare platform to promote better brain health and enhanced precision mindfulness,” said CEO Simba Nyazika, noting that his company now sees its data integration back end as its lead product, which unlocks many cross-collaboration opportunities.
        • Zero Point Cryogenics, which builds refrigerators for quantum technologies with applications in health and medicine, impressed investors enough to be offered a side deal at the Startup TNT Investment Summit V on June 23. Scription, which offers a software-as-a-service platform for equipment maintenance companies, was named the Edmonton winner.
        • Boehringer Ingelheim has joined Plug and Play’s new health program in Canada and will help select startups advance digital health innovation and adoption across the country. “We are proud to have a collaboration with a committed partner like Boehringer Ingelheim Canada as we scale up our platform in Alberta. They are a recognized leader in advancing adoption of digital solutions that co-create value with partners in the healthcare industry,” said Lindsay Smylie, director of Plug and Play Alberta.
        • Chris Cairo and his research team at the University of Alberta have identified a group of enzymes that could help us better understand inflammation, and thus lead to new ways of treating it. The work out of the department of chemistry was supported by GlycoNet and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
        • The federal government has launched the second phase of its Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy with a focus on commercialization and adoption of AI-driven innovations. “Across the country, we’ve already seen how transformational an investment like this can be in establishing Canada as a global player in AI,” said Cam Linke, CEO of the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute. Phase 2 provides $60 million to Canada’s AI institutes to “help translate research into commercial applications and grow the capacity of businesses to adopt AI and machine learning.”
        • Alberta Health Minister Jason Copping is travelling to Copenhagen and London to meet with health-care leaders and innovators. The goal of the trip is to gather information to improve public health care throughout Alberta, “especially in primary care services, home care and continuing care settings, and EMS delivery,” says a news release. Copping will also lead a panel discussion on fast-tracking digital solutions in health care.
        • A pandemic pivot took a partnership between the Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta and the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation in exactly the right direction, reports Folio. COVID-19 forced a community engagement plan set to launch in March 2020 to take place online instead, yielding a huge amount of data that student participants in a case competition were able to analyze and turn into meaningful solutions.
        • The Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation has named Lt.-Gov. Salma Lakhani and Dr. Zaheer Lakhani as Honorary Patrons, a rare honour that has been bestowed only three times before. The Lakhanis have supported the hospital and its centres of medical excellence for decades, the foundation said.
        • The Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation recognized the Stollery Superstars who have raised more than $200,000 for Edmonton’s children’s hospital


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