Harper government announces job creating investment in state-of-the-art
medical technology

Canada's Economic Action Plan invests in the jobs of the future in Southern Ontario

TORONTO, March 1 /CNW/ - Southern Ontario will strengthen its position as a leading centre for medical research and see new jobs created with the development of the KidsArm robotic surgical system, the first paediatric technology of its kind in the world. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology and for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), announced a $10 million investment from Canada's Economic Action Plan at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto.

"Our government supports scientific research because it creates jobs, strengthens the economy and improves Canadians' quality of life," said Minister Goodyear. "This investment will reinforce southern Ontario's place as a world leader in medical research and innovation, and provide opportunities to export made-in-Canada technology to hospitals worldwide."

"Through Canada's Economic Action Plan, our investment will help create more than 80 highly-skilled jobs, which will inject millions of stimulus dollars into the southern Ontario economy," said the Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas) and Member of Parliament for Thornhill.

The Centre for Image-Guided Innovation & Therapeutic Intervention (CIGITI), SickKids' cutting-edge medical, engineering and research centre, will develop KidsArm in partnership with MDA, Philips and other companies. KidsArm is an image-guided medical robot designed for paediatric patients, which enables surgeons to safely and efficiently perform less invasive surgical procedures and cut down the average time of procedures by up to 90 per cent.

"At SickKids we encourage innovations that translate knowledge from the lab into clinical practice," said Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO of SickKids. "This project is a prime example of how research and technology can be transformed into clinical applications, which lead to improved health outcomes for our children."

"The mission of our Centre is to imagine, innovate and provide health care differently from today," said Dr. Peter C. W. Kim, Director of CIGITI, Paediatric General Surgeon and Senior Associate Scientist in Developmental & Stem Cell Biology at SickKids, and Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto. "With this critical and timely investment from the federal government, we plan to develop the next generation of surgical robots, medical imaging and simulation technologies for the care of children and babies. This investment will help transform health-care and education through innovative technology development while building intellectual capability and economic capacity in Ontario and in Canada."

Funding for this project will come from the Southern Ontario Development Program and will go towards purchasing the core foundation equipment that will be adapted for KidsArm. This project is expected to create more than 80 research, engineering and manufacturing jobs at the Centre and partnering companies who will provide the imaging, robotic and simulation equipment. Once complete, SickKids will commercialize the technology to generate revenues that will be re-invested to further research at the Hospital, helping to sustain innovation over the long term.

The project is also funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) and SickKids Foundation. For more details on KidsArm, please refer to the project backgrounder. For additional information on CIGITI, visit www.cigiti.com.

For additional details on the Southern Ontario Development Program, please refer to the program backgrounder, visit the FedDev Ontario web site at www.feddevontario.gc.ca, or call 1-866-593-5505. For additional information on Canada's Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.

This news release is available online at: www.feddevontario.gc.ca and www.actionplan.gc.ca.

    
        KidsArm: The next generation of surgical robotics at SickKids

    -   KidsArm is being developed by the team at the Centre for Image-Guided
        Innovation & Therapeutic Intervention (CIGITI) at SickKids. CIGITI's
        vision is to bring together surgeons, engineers and software
        developers from universities and businesses to develop innovative
        technologies in robotic and minimally invasive surgery. CIGITI is
        divided into three research themes: imaging, robotics and simulation.
        (For more information, visit www.CIGITI.com)

    -   KidsArm will be the first robotic surgical arm in the world
        specifically designed for paediatric surgery. It will be capable of
        working in small and delicate spaces, under supervised image
        guidance. It will offer enhanced dexterity and precision, resulting
        in time savings both in surgery and in treatment.

    -   KidsArm will enable surgeons to quickly navigate to the treatment
        region, avoid dangerous structures such as blood vessels and quickly
        perform certain procedures.

    -   It will be able to perform procedures such as anastomosis (suturing
        vessels, tissues, etc.) at a rate that is at least 10 times faster
        than a surgeon.

    -   KidsArm is a tabletop surgical tool for minimally-invasive operations
        that will be operated by medical personnel using a pair of hand
        controllers.

    -   KidsArm has a unique tip tool designed for automated movement under
        image guidance.

    -   This image-guided, MRI-compatible robot aims to increase surgical
        efficiency, safety, accessibility and patient care through supervised
        image guidance, pre-operative planning, fused intra-operative imaging
        (MRI, ultrasound and endoscope) and dexterous tools.

    -   Integrated imaging combines elements of magnetic resonance (MR),
        ultrasound and video to create a smarter 3D image for better real-
        time navigation.

    -   KidsArm creates virtual reality-based models used in surgical
        planning and teaching.

    -   The technology development and subsequent commercialization of
        KidsArm is expected to have broad and significant impacts to Ontario
        and to Canada by:

        -  Creating intellectual property assets that can be licensed or used
           for start-up creation
        -  Generating high-value manufacturing jobs
        -  Producing health-care and research opportunities
        -  Developing educational programs for a wide range of learners from
           high school students to medical staff

    -   KidsArm is a new surgical platform that will be used across many
        paediatric surgical specialties, including cardiac surgery,
        neurosurgery, fetal surgery, urosurgery and general surgery.


                                 Backgrounder

                     Southern Ontario Development Program
    

Announced in Canada's Economic Action Plan, FedDev Ontario was established to deliver federal economic development programs to support the priorities of workers, businesses and communities in Southern Ontario. Budget 2009 allocated $1 billion over five years for the new Agency.

The Southern Ontario Development Program was established as a core program of FedDev Ontario. It will build upon the assets and strengths of communities to create an environment where businesses can thrive and maximize southern Ontario's potential to succeed in the knowledge-based economy.

Funding under this program will go towards projects that can stimulate local economies and enhance the growth and competitiveness of local businesses and communities. Approximately $100 million has been allocated to the Southern Ontario Development Program in 2009-10, including the following:

    
    -   Nearly $63 million through a general intake process;
    -   Up to $20 million through an intake for the food and beverage
        processing sector;
    -   $15.75 million for the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters' SMART
        Program to fund an estimated 300 projects that will help small- and
        medium-sized manufacturers increase their productivity and
        competitiveness in the global economy; and
    -   $1.6 million for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce's Export Market
        Access Program to help southern Ontario businesses that would like to
        increase their sales internationally.
    

For more information, please visit the FedDev Ontario website at www.feddevontario.gc.ca or call 1-866-593-5505.

SOURCE FEDERAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY FOR SOUTHERN ONTARIO

For further information: For further information: For media enquiries, contact: Gary Toft, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, (613) 943-7599; Matet Nebres, Manager, Media Relations, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), (416) 813-6380, matet.nebres@sickkids.ca; Media Relations, FedDev Ontario, (613) 954-5543


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