High-tech health care: three UdeM research teams get new grants

Credit: Dumas-Bonesso

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They'll work on remote monitoring of home care, synthetic corneas for transplant patients, and ultrasound bracelets for patients in critical care.

Three research teams at the Faculty of Mediicine of Université de Montréal are among 32 winners of federal grants totaling $19.8M over the next three years to support the development of high-tech devices in health care.

Teams led by Natalie Bier (School of Rehablitation), Isabelle Brunette (Department of Ophthalmology) and Guy Cloutier (Department of Radiology, Radio-Oncology and Nuclear Medicine) were awarded a total of $1.11 million.

The announcement was made in Toronto by Bill Blair, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, and Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary for Science.

The funding is part of the Collaborative Health Research Projects (CHRP) program, an equal partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC).

Nationwide, 32 research projects are being supported, with an average grant size of $618,750. The grants are meant to support stronger collaborations among health care, engineering and natural sciences researchers and lead to new devices and technologies.

At UdeM and its affiliated institutions:

  • Bier's team at the Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal will use its $489,287 grant to test new home-care technology that will remotely manage 12 elderly patients in Montreal's south end. They will be compared over several months to a control group of 12 patients not using the technology.
  • Brunette's team at the Centre de recherche de l'Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont will use its $321,657 grant to develop synthetic corneas for patients waiting for transplants. The experimental technique involves replacing damaged corneal tissue with a transparent, injectable hydrogel.
  • Clouthier's team at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal will use its $301,262 grant to design an ultrasound bracelet for critical-care patients that will continuously monitor blood inflammations that can lead to fatal multiple organ dysfunctions (MODS). The technology has already been successfully tested in pigs.

The full list of projects can be viewed on the CIHR website. The next CHRP competition will be launched this spring.

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