McMaster Innovation Park’s Entrepreneur Fair – Global Entrepreneurship Week

November 18, 2013

in recognition of Global Entrepreneurship Week

 Hamilton, Ontario – McMaster Innovation Park is hosting an Entrepreneur Fair on Thursday, November 21, 2013 at 12:00pm located at 175 Longwood Road South, Hamilton.  There will be 200 participants with a panel of successful entrepreneurs and four entrepreneurial tracks to choose from.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators, who launch start-ups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators. McMaster Innovation Park’s Entrepreneur Fair 2013 was designed to support anyone who shares this vision.

“Entrepreneurs face the challenge of running their own businesses, cold calling for sales, and incurring expenses in hopes of making a profit.  It can be one of the most risky business moves that a person can venture in to.  It can also be one of the most rewarding.  MIP hopes to support the dream of entrepreneurship by providing a venue that allows everyone a chance to connect with others in their field,  collaborate with those who are not, and grow their business ideas.” says Mark Stewart, Marketing and Leasing Manager at McMaster Innovation Park.

Attendees can listen to industry professionals, entrepreneurs and consultants with knowledge and experience. They can participate with a Keynote panel of local entrepreneurial leaders, including Juan Lopez of Pipeline Studios, Real-estate Broker Judy Marsales, Tom Schopf of Wedgie, and Ruthie Burd of The Lunch Lady Group.  For those who are not sure which path to follow, there will be four tracks available; Start Up, Work for an Entrepreneur, Own a Franchise or Small Business.  Attendees can choose one track or mix and match throughout the day.

The fair will attract a wide range of people including students, business owners and anyone who is interested in making a job change.  Anyone who has a business idea and would like to know where to start is encouraged to attend.  Attendees can visualize concepts, talk to entrepreneurs and have their questions answered.  Tickets are available at

Please visit our website for full schedule, list of attending companies, and sponsors

To arrange an interview with Mark Stewart, please contact:

Ellie Stutsman

Greening Marketing

905 667 5794

McMaster Innovation Park helps to develop and sustain an environment that facilitates and accelerates innovation, the transfer of knowledge and commercialization of research resulting in economic and social development.  MIP has global reach resulting in regional prosperity and prides itself in educating the community about developing technologies.


Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation: Robots from Space Lead to One-Stop Breast Cancer Diagnosis


We may not be driving flying cars to work yet, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a lot to be excited about from technology advances related to the space age. Instead of zipping past traffic jams, International Space Station-derived robotic capabilities are giving us a fast pass to life-saving surgical techniques with cancer-fighting finesse.

According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 232,340 women and 2,240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer by the end of 2013 alone. From that, about 39,620 women and 410 men will not survive.

The goal for a team of collaborative researchers with the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation (CSii) in Canada is to reduce those numbers significantly. They are scheduled to enter an advanced platform into clinical trials this fall for use in the early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

The main player besides the medical staff is a robot. But not just any robot. This one’s technology was designed for use aboard the International Space Station by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) for the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Researchers created the Image-Guided Autonomous Robot (IGAR) from a long line of computerized heavy lifters and maintenance performers for the space shuttle and space station: CSA’s CanadarmCanadarm2 and Dextre. In dealing with breast cancer, IGAR is expected to provide increased access, precision and dexterity, resulting in highly accurate and minimally invasive procedures.

“The IGAR platform moves the use of robotics in surgery to a new dimension, allowing the robot to act in an automated fashion after programming by a physician,” said Dr. Mehran Anvari, chief executive officer and scientific director at CSii. “This technology has been practiced in manufacturing and in space, but is new to medicine.”

IGAR is designed to work in combination with an MRI scanner, which is highly sensitive to early detection of suspicious breast lesions before they possibly turn into a much larger problem. The radiologist uses specially designed software to tag the potential target and tell IGAR what path to take. The software then helps the radiologist to make sure he or she is accurately hitting the right area. IGAR has a special tool interface that can be used to define adaptors for any needle-based biopsy device or a wide range of instruments that remove body tissue, known in the medical world as needle-based ablation devices.

“Our automated robot is capable of placing the biopsy and ablation tools within 1 mm (about three-tenths of an inch) of the lesion in question with a high degree of targeting accuracy, improving sampling, reducing the morbidity and pain of the procedure, reducing time in the MRI suite and saving significant dollars as a consequence,” said Anvari. “It also will allow all radiologists to perform this procedure equally well, regardless of the number of cases per year and move the site of treatment from operation room to radiology suite for a significant number of patients.”

The radiologist can operate in the challenging magnetic environment of the MRI, providing access to leading tumor-targeting technology. The robot fits on the patient bed, so it can travel in and out of the MRI opening easily. This in turn simplifies the flow of patients in the department, which can be challenging to many radiologists, optimizing patient time to diagnose.

IGAR removes most of the “manual” aspects of the procedure and reduces user-dependence and the level of training required. This allows for a standard process regardless of experience.  An expert will program remotely once the patient is in the MRI suite. A physician will then supervise only to make sure the patient is comfortable and there are no complications, even if he or she has limited knowledge of the procedure.

“I’ve been teaching MRI-guided breast biopsy for years and there are many steps in the procedure that are operator-dependent,” said Dr. Nathalie Duchesne, co-investigator on the clinical study and breast radiologist at the Hospital Saint-Sacrement in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. She will be performing the first of three clinical trials. “These steps may prevent good sampling of the lesions if it’s not done properly. I believe IGAR will take care of this. It will subsequently decrease the time of the exam, ensure good sampling and increase patient’s comfort during the exam. We think that IGAR will improve sample collection because it will be less operator dependent and it will be constant from one doctor to another, from one patient to the other, from one lesion to the other.”

“This technology lays the foundation for a family of telerobotic systems,” said Anvari. “It has the potential to change the way we think about performing these interventions and ensures that specialized, highly-trained doctors are focusing on the activities to which their training is best suited. We believe this technology will improve efficiency in the health care system by streamlining clinical workflow and allowing highly-skilled radiologists to extend their care to a wider population through teleoperation.”

This robotic technology is not limited only to biopsies. “I think IGAR is paving the way for the minimally-invasive excision and treatment of small tumors that are often found incidentally during pre-op MRI,” said Duchesne.

The trend toward breast preservation has brought on the importance of lumpectomies. For tumors that may require this procedure because they are invisible to ultrasound and X-ray mammography, researchers are currently developing the ability for IGAR to deploy a radioactive seed — smaller than a grain of rice — near the area of interest. During surgery, the seed can be located with a detector, allowing the doctor to identify the lesion and remove it with increased accuracy and patient comfort. It’s expected that follow-up surgeries also will be greatly reduced.

So, from the space station to the ground, robotic arms lend a hand, whether it be to grab an arriving resupply vehicle or to help save more lives.

Sandra Kay Yow, head coach of the North Carolina State Wolfpack women’s basketball team from 1975 to 2009 and an advocate of breast cancer awareness, once said before she lost her battle in 2009, “When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.” With researchers taking to the International Space Station and then bringing their beneficial technologies back down to help lives on Earth, we are on a journey forward hopefully to one day make cancer history.


By Jessica Eagan
International Space Station Program Science Office
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

$3M challege to spur innovations in drug-enabling technologies

Lab Product News 
Toronto, ON - Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) and the Québec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM) are teaming up with Life Sciences Ontario and BiopolisQuébec to advance pharmaceutical research in the two provinces. OCE and CQDM are leading a $3 million inter-provincial initiative called the OCE-CQDM Life Sciences R&D Challenge. The initiative will support industry-academic collaborations with the goal of developing innovative tools and technologies to improve and accelerate the drug discovery process.

The initiative builds on an existing two-year-old partnership called the Ontario-Québec Life Sciences Corridor initiative.

“This initiative will help build a competitive advantage for the sector in both provinces by combining resources and strengths across the Ontario-Québec Life Sciences Corridor,” said Dr. Tom Corr, president and CEO of OCE. “This will not only help lead to new products but pave the way for new and unique opportunities for investments, partnerships and collaborations.”

The initiative is also funded in part by the Ontario government’s Collaboration Voucher program.

OCE and CQDM will support up to four qualified projects (lasting up to three years) which undertake biopharmaceutical research leading to improvements in drug discovery technologies. The challenge is not funding new drug discovery, rather the development of cutting-edge technologies with strong and immediate impact on drug discovery.

OCE and CQDM will each provide $125,000-$150,000 per project (up to $500,000 each in total) with industry partners contributing another $500,000-$600,000 per project (up to $2 million in total). The two organizations are also hosting an industry-academic partnering forum on November 28 to solicit project proposals and to provide a networking opportunity for potential collaborators.

“We strongly believe that this newly launched program will build powerful private/public relationships across the Ontario-Québec Life Sciences Corridor” said Diane Gosselin, president and CEO at CQDM. “This program launch is in-line with our believe that partnerships are essential to support disruptive technology that really will make a difference in delivering cost effective, safe and innovative-based medications to patients.”

For more information about funding, submissions and qualifications, please visit the OCE website.

McMaster Scientists unlock the secrets of a common diabetes drug

More than 120 million people around the world suffer from Type 2 diabetes, including two million in Canada. Many take the drug metformin to help control the disease.

Doctors know metformin needs to interact with insulin to be effective, and that it can’t lower blood sugar on its own. No one has been able to explain how and why this happens.

Until now.

Two researchers at McMaster, Greg Steinberg and Morgan Fullerton, are the first to unlock that mystery with the discovery that metformin works on fat in the liver. Their research was published Monday in the journal Nature Medicine.

“The key is that metformin doesn’t work to lower blood glucose by directly working on the glucose. It works on reducing harmful fat molecules in the liver, which then allows insulin to work better and lower blood sugar levels,” said Steinberg, associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

Steinberg also holds the Canada Research Chair in Metabolism and Obesity, and is a co-director of the Metabolism and Childhood (MAC)-Obesity Research Program. His research team included scientists in Alberta, Australia and Scotland.

He explained that most people taking metformin have a fatty liver, which is frequently caused by obesity.

“Fat is likely a key trigger for pre-diabetes, causing blood sugar to start going up because insulin can’t work as efficiently to stop sugar coming from the liver,” said Steinberg.

The discovery offers a huge head start in finding combination therapies (and more personalized approaches) for diabetics for whom metformin isn’t enough to restore their blood sugar to normal levels.

Steinberg’s team at McMaster was supported by grants and fellowships from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the Canadian Diabetes Association.

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