Saturday, December 20, 2008
The Halifax Injector
I get excited about ordinary things sometimes. An unexpected cup of coffee from a listener on his way to work, an unexpected e-mail from a high school friend, a pleasant note left under my apartment door from a neighbour.
And I get excited when I hear about innovations and developments that occur in my city. This week, the Halifax Injector was finally revealed to the public. A surgical tool, the "device can be programmed by a touch screen to deliver precise quantities of stem cells to very specific areas deep inside the brain".
Over the years, the use of stem cells in the treatment of Parkinson's Disease has increased. Remember when Muhammad Ali had a fetal cell transplant to try and control his PD? We've come a long way since then and the Halifax Injector is another positive step.
You may be wondering about the mention of PD on what is basically an MS blog. First, there is PD on my dad's side of the family, two aunts having suffered and died from it, and a grandfather and an uncle with PD like symptoms (though to the best of my knowledge, they were never diagnosed with it). My mother and I have watched my father over the years for any tell tale symptoms (and I'm happy to say we haven't observed any).
Secondly, this instrument will have applications for drug delivery. Imagine being able to put a drug precisely where it is needed instead of injecting into a leg muscle and waiting for the body's systems to process the drug, losing some efficacy to metabolism.
Thirdly, the Injector was developed by a team of students, doctors, and researchers in fields of engineering, physics, medicine, and computer science. What a combination of minds! One of the students was just beginning his education in a local Community College when he joined the team and I can only imagine the impact his involvement will have on his future job prospects as an electrical engineering technologist.
I know one of the doctors on the team and hope to talk to him in the new year about the implications of this device on other neurological conditions.