The Cross-Border Biotech Blog

Biotechnology, Health and Business in Canada, the United States and Worldwide

Tag Archives: MUHC

Monday Biotech Deal Review: March 8, 2010

A busy week in Canadian deals, with Paladin Labs in a global transaction with SpePharm; M&A activity from therapeutics and consulting companies; the last of the SIFT/SR&ED deals; over $20 million of new offerings from BioSign, Bradmer and YM; government funding for Medicago and Isotechnika; a new standby equity deal from Yorkville for Allon; and the closing of the first deal of the rest of BioMS’ new life. Read more of this post

Trends Update — Electronic Medical Records: Ottawa Telehealth Success, Privacy Fiasco in Alberta, Beta Test in Montreal

floppy-disk1New data yesterday from a home telehealth monitoring program developed by the University of Ottawa Heart Institute claims a whopping 54% cut in hospital readmission for heart failure patients.  Readmission rates dropped to under 15% for patients on the program, which includes daily vitals monitoring and immediate contact if anything seems amiss. UOHI says they realize up to $20,000 in savings for each patient safely diverted.

Of course, any time you create electronic medical records, you create privacy risks, as this week’s fiasco in Alberta shows.  Over 11,000 patients were notified of a privacy breach after a virus infected over 100 Alberta Health Service computers.  A follow-up CBC story quotes a computer security expert who is appalled (the virus is 7 years old).

If you still want to hop on the electronic medical record bandwagon, McGill University Health Centre is collaborating with Medical.MD to promote a 300-subscriber beta test (first-come, first served) for Medical.MD’s web-based personal health records management tool — MedforYou.  Medical.MD says the service will be very user-friendly and will include information on allergies, procedures, providers and medications as well as a journaling function.

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Friday Science Review: March 6, 2009

Cool Canadian science stories this week…

Stem Cells: The big Canadian science news this week was the report by Dr. Nagy’s lab at the Lunenfeld that they have found a much safer way to make pluripotent stem cells from adult tissue.  Their publication (co-authored with Keisuke Kaji’s team at the University of Edinburgh) appeared in Nature this week.

Also on the stem cell front, Dr. Kremer, the co-director of the Musculoskeletal Axis of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, used Interferon gamma to induce the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts in vitro, and that IFNγ knockout mice also show reduced bone density and that isolated mesenchymal stem cells from the knockout mice show a differentiation defect.  Long story short: a potential new target for improving bone density.

Clinical Trials: Good news for GSK and for scientists at McMaster University, who showed that GSK’s Mepolizumab (pdf), an anti-IL5 humanized antibody that blocks eosinophil production, helps severe asthmatics improve asthma and reduce their need for prednisone by close to 90 per cent, a result that was seconded by a group in the UK.

Nanotechnology Costs: We noted a few weeks ago that there were changes coming to nanotechnology regulatory environment, and now researchers in BC and Minnessota estimate that testing the toxicity of existing nanomaterials in the United States could cost between $249 million and $1.18 billion and that full-scale testing could take decades to complete. They propose a tiered approach, similar to the EU’s REACH program for testing toxic chemicals, to define priorities.  Hat tip to ScienceInsider.

Hosted Services: Canadians, being hospitable types, are hosting World Diabetes Congress in Montreal in October, as well as a new Occupational Cancer Research Centre — charged with “improving knowledge and evidence to help identify, prevent and ultimately eliminate exposures to cancer-causing substances in the workplace.”

Musical Chairs: A group at Ryerson University’s centre for learning technologies in conjunction with the science of music, auditory research and technology (SMART) lab have developed a chair that allows the hearing-impaired to experience music by using the skin as a hearing membrane. 

Global Issues: An Amazon drought caused a major release of carbon dioxide; but don’t worry, because we’ll find a new planet in no time.  Sound painful? Don’t worry — a spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine go down.

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