box10.gif (1299 bytes)







Government and Policy

Governments pump $32.5 million into high-tech med centre

WINNIPEG The government of Canada is investing $9.5 million, and the province of Manitoba is contributing $23 million over the next five years, to help launch the new Institute for Advanced Medicine.

The centre will be located at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre and will become a centre of excellence in medical informatics, advanced imaging and 'surgery of the future', including minimally invasive surgical techniques, robotics and computer-assisted surgery.

The Health Sciences Centre Foundation has embarked on a $25 million capital campaign to construct the Institute for Advanced Medicine (IAM), a 100,000 square-foot research facility.

"The Institute for Advanced Medicine will benefit Manitobans tremendously, both in improved healthcare and in economic spin-offs," said the federal government's minister of Western Economic Development, Rey Pagtakhan. "The exciting work that will be done here is expected to attract more researchers, increase opportunities for commercialization of new technologies and expand upon Winnipeg's growing health and life sciences cluster. This will create new highly-skilled jobs in Manitoba."

"Manitoba's contribution to this endeavour lies in the acquisition and operation of the gamma knife and a new PET (positron emission tomography) scanner -- both invaluable tools in treatment and research related to the neurosciences and other diseases," said Tim Sale, minister of energy, science and technology for Manitoba. "This is another step towards advancing our work and attracting the very best in the areas of infectious disease research and life sciences to build on our knowledge-based economy."

Andy Hind, vice president of the Medical Solutions Division for Siemens Canada Ltd., said that Siemens was proud to be a partner in the initiative. "The Biograph 16 PET/CT scanner is a state-of-the-art scanner with a new generation of crystal detector that sets new standards in speed and resolution, and will be one of the first installations of its type in the world. It prepares the Health Sciences Centre for future applications of PET/CT in both clinical and research studies."

Plans for the Institute for Advanced Medicine include a focus on technology advances in infectious diseases, neurosciences and Aboriginal health. Radiology will explore opportunities with three new technologies, including gamma knife surgery, positron emission tomography and intraoperative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

In the field of surgery, the focus will be on advanced medical devices and "surgery of the future" models. Medical informatics will focus on medical simulation and medical information technologies software development.

Dr. Brian Postl, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority said the initiative will strengthen Winnipeg's reputation as a national leader in new and innovative health technologies. "The focus of the work that will be done at the Institute will be on minimally invasive techniques, computer assisted surgery and the development of advanced medical devices," Dr. Postl said. "We will be seen as a leader in these fields, not just nationally, but internationally as well."

"This new Institute will enable HSC to enhance care to patients and achieve excellence in a number of strategic areas that are important to our future," said Dr. Brock Wright, chief operating officer, Health Sciences Centre. "We believe this initiative will also serve as a vehicle for expanded relationships with the private sector. "The Institute will work in collaboration with the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health, as well as other major medical research institutions in Manitoba.