You can't miss the vehicles zipping around Calgary and parts of Southern Alberta with the green C
ervices logo on the side. Kind of a taxi for blood samples with the passenger's trip being a time sensitive one with the possible life saving purpose of testing the blood sample for infections or pathogens.
No matter how fast the sample makes it to the lab from any of the 1 million people who end up using the service every year, testing takes time but with new research funding in hand, Ian Lewis and Deidre Church hope to change that. They received GAPP funding through Genome Alberta last year and are using it to take a prototype machine to a final version that can cut the time it takes to identify bloodstream pathogens from up to 4 days to as little as 4 hours. With new funding announced this week (January 25th
) the 2 researchers are taking on the broader challenge of treating infections while not adding to the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Here's what Genome Alberta's President and CEO David Bailey had to say
in his remarks at the official funding announcement at the University of Calgary.
The two new projects led by Dr. Church and Dr. Lewis (some of their research team are pictured at the right)
are a unique collaboration to solve a big problem. Genome Alberta brought together funding through Genome Canada and Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Calgary Laboratory Services, Alberta Health Services, the Government of Alberta, and the University of Calgary to fund the research efforts.
Ian Lewis is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the U of C, and the Alberta Innovates Translational Chair in Metabolomics. Deirdre Church is Clinical Section Chief of Microbiology for Calgary Laboratory Services. I sat down with them at Calgary Laboratory Services to talk about bloodstream infections and it was clear from the beginning that Dr. Church and Dr. Lewis share a commitment to ensuring faster diagnosis and better patient care now, while still dealing with the longer term problem of bloodstream infections.