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New stem cell research technology could unlock diagnoses and cures for serious childhood diseases

BC Children’s Hospital is now home to a new robotized stem cell system which could speed up the discovery of cures or new treatments for severe childhood illnesses, like cancer.
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​Photo left to right: Drs. Shubhayan Sanatani, Francis Lynn and Glen Tibbits.

BC Children’s Hospital Foundation announced the launch of the new tissue culturing technology which accelerates and automates stem cell development, opening the door for previously unknown diagnoses, life-saving advances, and new treatments for hard to cure diseases. Since this new equipment combines and automates all aspects of stem cell culturing, it can work 28 times faster than previous technology.

“This equipment is truly state of the art and is already transforming pediatric cardiac care,” says Malcolm Berry, President and CEO of BC Children’s Hospital Foundation. “BC Children’s is home to some of the brightest clinical minds in Canada. Combining this expertise with leading-edge technology elevates the already extraordinary work happening here in BC in pediatric and cellular regenerative medicine.”

Already, this new instrument is helping uncover genetic causes of heart disease in children and determining whether insulin-producing beta cells could be created for children with diabetes. 

“Every day, our research teams are working hard to understand the genetic causes of heart arrhythmias and find the best treatment options for children at high risk of sudden cardiac arrest,” says Dr. Shubhayan Sanatani, Head, Division of Cardiology. “This equipment is a true innovation, one that allows scientists and researchers to spend time focusing on finding the best and most specialized treatment options for patients facing not only congenital heart defects but other serious diseases.”

Thank you, donors 

This technology was made possible through the generous support of Mining for Miracles, fundraising through the B.C. mining community. 

The technology

STEMCELL Technologies developed the equipment as a custom build, making this the world’s first, and only, technology of its kind, that automates best practices for stem cell maintenance, reducing the potential for human errors. 

More info

Read the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation news release

BC Children's Hospital; BC Children's Hospital Research Institute
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