Major advances in medical technology can hinge on a casual hallway conversation.
That’s why Desmond Pink is thrilled with Nanostics new research space, embedded right in the heart of Dynalife’s busy downtown medical lab.
Pink is the chief scientific officer for a medical startup working on using artificial intelligence to better identify aggressive prostate cancer in a blood sample. But the steps for taking a major discovery to full commercialization, where it can benefit patients, are hard. The path is full of unexpected challenges that can scuttle the best new ideas.
By working right inside Dynalife, Pink has access to great help. Safety officers walk right past his door — senior technologists know all about previous successes and failures. “That knowledge transfer is really what’s key. You can’t buy that experience.”
He’s now ready to run a clinical trial with Dynalife staff this week.
Dynalife created space for five startups in the centre of Dynalife, right off the main atrium, two years ago. Each space is now full and it is looking to expand the program. The company is celebrating the effort Monday, opening the lab for a media event to talk about the economic and health benefits possible for Alberta.
Jason Pincock, chief executive of Dynalife, said too often new medical advances are discovered in Alberta but must be sold or exported before they’re ready to be scaled up. That means Alberta is buying back technology rather than partnering to develop it and be the first to benefit.
Another startup now embedded in Dynalife is using urine analysis to screen for colon cancer, which could be easier than the current stool sample test for patients in rural and remote areas. That will hopefully reduce unnecessary colonoscopies. Other startups are working on better breast cancer diagnosis and better bedside testing.
This new initiative, developed in partnership with Alberta Health Services, sees health care not just as an expense but as an economic development engine, Pincock said. “It’s really just our commitment to research and supporting that in the community. … Our only ask was, if they’re successful, Albertans get access first.”