National Research Council Canada-NRC

National Research Council Canada-NRC
IWK Health Centre

IWK Health Centre

March 15, 2010 09:36 ET

Government of Canada Supports and Unveils New Lab for Brain Disease and Disorders Diagnostics

Partnership between the IWK Health Centre and the National Research Council Canada establishes Halifax as leading centre

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA--(Marketwire - March 15, 2010) - Atlantic Canada will strengthen its position as a world leading hub for medical imaging and see new jobs created with the opening of a new brain imaging lab at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. The Clinical Magnetoencephalography (MEG) Lab will be used to diagnose brain disease such as epilepsy and brain tumours, especially in children, and was announced by Senator Stephen Greene on behalf of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology.

"Our government is investing in science and research to create jobs, strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life of Canadians," said Senator Greene. "This new brain imaging centre will offer earlier and better treatments for children and others with neurological conditions. It will attract some of the world's best researchers to Halifax and create new products that can be marketed to other hospitals and research centres in Canada and beyond."

The Centre is a partnership between the National Research Council of Canada, IWK Health Centre, and the proponent of the MEG technology, Elekta Neuromag of Finland. MEG is a completely non-invasive and risk-free neuroimaging technique, and is well suited for a wide range of patients including children.

The lab represents a critical link between basic science and real-world clinical problems. It will bring medical doctors and scientists together, serving as a focal point for specialists from all disciplines. At the present time, this group is attracting brain imaging experts from around the world and includes more than 20 local collaborators.

In the last seven years, Halifax has seen unprecedented growth in neuroscience and biomedical imaging. To support this leading-edge medical devices sector, the National Research Council has been working closely with the IWK Health Centre, Dalhousie University and the Capital District Health Authority to develop a large-scale collaborative partnership in the biomedical imaging of brain disorders. 

Dr. Roman Szumski, NRC Vice President for Life Sciences, noted that the MEG lab will increase the competitiveness of Halifax's life sciences technology cluster. "It is the critical mass of expertise in the Halifax cluster that has attracted Elekta's direct investment in the city. The investment in the MEG lab puts Halifax in an excellent position to further stimulate growth both in the medical devices sector and research in the early detection of disease."

"Halifax is emerging as a centre of expertise on the human brain and this facility will be used collaboratively by doctors and researchers from around the globe," said Dr. Patrick McGrath, Vice President Research at the IWK Health Centre. "The MEG lab will allow us to conduct important research in areas such as the assessment of consciousness in persons with brain injuries, neurocognitive function, developmental disorders and altered awareness."

Recognized globally for research and innovation, Canada's National Research Council is a leader in developing an innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through science and technology.

The IWK Health Centre provides quality care to women, children, youth and families in the Maritimes and beyond. The IWK is engaged in leading-edge research, works to promote healthy lifestyles for families, and supports education opportunities for health professionals and other learners.

Elekta AB (founded in Sweden, 1972) is an international medical device and human care company pioneering significant innovations and clinical solutions for treating cancer and brain disorders. Elekta products are used in over 5,000 hospitals globally.

Contact Information

  • National Research Council Institute for Biodiagnostics
    Valerie McPherson
    IWK Health Centre
    Nick Cox
    Public Relations