Genetic tests to guide brain cancer treatment

September 22, 2017

Doctors at Sick Kids have developed tests to analyze the molecular makeup of individual brain tumours, leading to the possibility of personalized treatment. Hospitals from around the world are sending their patient’s tumour samples to Sick Kids for this molecular analysis.

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Proteorex: Speedy drug discovery & development

September 21, 2017

Proteorex, a spinout from the Toronto-based Structural Genomics Consortium, aims to solve the problem of failures in drug discovery with their power-packed mix of machine learning, patient-derived cell-based screening, and Artificial Intelligence. They recently completed four months at the venture-backed accelerator, IndieBio, and are looking to close a seed series round of financing.

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Bayer and Ginkgo Bioworks aim to make crops produce their own nitrogen fertilizer

September 20, 2017

Most nitrogen fertilizer is made by big chemical producers and is sprayed onto crops. Some 3% of the world’s carbon emissions result from its production. With $100M in investment, the Bayer/Ginkgo team wants to turn crops into their own mini-fertilizer manufacturers. The work combines the synthetic biology leadership of Ginkgo Bioworks with Bayer’s deep knowledge and experience in agriculture.

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Sun Life to look at effectiveness of pharmacogenetics on plan members

September 13, 2017

Sun Life Financial will be offering plan members on short- and long-term disability leave for depression or anxiety the chance to take part in a study on the impact of pharmacogenetic testing. The insurer is participating in a study that examines the effectiveness of the technology in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and personalized medicine provider Assurex Health Inc.

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Salmon farmers adapt to climate change with genomics

September 12, 2017

With sea surface temperatures in the North Atlantic Ocean already climbing, scientists are predicting Atlantic Canada’s $400 million salmon aquaculture industry could be wiped out within the next 25 years. But biologists at University of Waterloo, Memorial University and the Universities of Guelph and Prince Edward Island could be the key to helping the industry adapt, using genetic sequencing and selective breeding to produce superior salmon stock that can survive in higher water temperatures.

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Algae enzymes for sustainable fuels and chemicals

September 11, 2017

Scientists have long known that algae can produce oils (hydrocarbons) from sunlight, but just recently have identified the enzyme responsible. With this knowledge, scientists hope this may be useful in sustainable light-driven, bio-based production of hydrocarbon chemicals and fuels.

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Drought tolerant cotton

September 7, 2017

Ontario-based Performance Plants announced they have reached an important milestone in partnership with Bayer. “Cotton is one of the most important commodity crops but its yield is severely limited by water stress conditions in the majority of cotton farmland. We are excited about this solid and promising YPT technology performance data obtained by Bayer, and Bayer’s continued advancement of the product towards commercialization”, said Dr. Yafan Huang, President & CSO of Performance Plants.

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How Whole Genome Sequencing could transform pediatric genetic assessment

August 23, 2017

Genetic testing is an integral part of pediatric medicine. The current standard of care relies on a specific panel of genetic tests, which can be costly and inconclusive. Dr. Christian Marshall of The Centre for Applied Genomics and Hospital for Sick Children recently published a paper highlighting the potential for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to become standard of care. They found WGS captured all results from traditional genetic tests, but also gave additional information on other potential disease causing genes that would otherwise be missed. The published data provide new insights into how WGS could transform genetic assessment in pediatric medicine.

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Mining microbes could unlock wealth, clean tailings

August 23, 2017

With luck, ingenuity and some scientific know-how, Sudbury’s tailings ponds could become a new source nickel, copper and zinc. Researchers met to discuss developing technologies that aim to remediate waste and effluent waters from mining operations in Sudbury and British Columbia.

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