Organ transplant AI company wins $1 million
May 11, 2022
TORONTO – In a speech to mark the end of National Organ Transplantation and Donation Awareness Week, Jean-Yves Duclos, federal minister of health, announced $1 million in funding for Toronto-based company Ortho BioMed Inc.
“Ensuring the health and safety of Canadians is vital, and our government is proud to support cutting-edge companies as they push the limits of technology in finding innovative ways to improve Canada’s organ and tissue donation and transplant ecosystem,” said Duclos.
Transplants only remain viable for a finite number of hours after a donor passes away. Challenges around predicting the time of death also mean all too many life-saving donations are lost. Doctors face a race against limited time, legal and ethical protocols, and an array of complex medical variables when attempting to match organ recipients with suitable donors.
Ortho BioMed’s technology can reportedly improve how clinicians predict heart and brain death. It can also quickly compare a broader pool of potential organ donors with recipients. AI can reportedly also predict which organ will last the longest after transplant to each individual, improving the longevity of the transplants and saving lives.
“AI in healthcare is already saving Canadian lives. Genetics looks for mutations linked to diseases in our DNA. With the help of AI, body scans can now spot cancer and vascular diseases early and predict the health issues people might face. AI can also significantly improve organ donation rates and outcomes for patients. This tool will augment clinical decision-making during pre-transplant, donor-recipient matching, and post-transplant care periods. It’s about saving lives and also making lives better,” said Nick Sajadi, Ortho BioMed CTO.
- In Canada, demand for organ donations is overwhelming. End-stage kidney disease (ESKD) alone affects over 40,000, with more than 200 in every million Canadians requiring renal replacement therapy indefinitely.
- Despite that, only a few thousand transplants happen each year. In 2019, the donation rate across all solid organs was just around 38 donors per million population.