Harnessing artificial intelligence to take the guesswork out of diagnosing cancer recurrence for millions of cancer survivors

Vancouver, BC [April 21, 2022] – Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster is excited to be
investing in AI and technology innovation that will advance personalized cancer treatment and
improve patient outcomes. Led by Imagia Canexia Health, in partnership with BC Cancer
Research, DNAstack, Microsoft, Queen’s University and University Health Network, the
CanDETECT project is developing a precision oncology software that will monitor cancer
recovery and recurrence for millions of Canadian cancer survivors.
“Digital healthcare innovations can have a significant positive impact for cancer patients and
their families,” said the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation,
Science and Industry. “By detecting relapse or resistance to therapy early, the CanDETECT
project can help improve patient outcomes, reduce cancer care backlogs and build greater
resiliency across Canada’s healthcare systems. This is one more example of how the Digital
Technology Supercluster and digital innovation can help Canadians and their families during
very difficult times.”

Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Canada, and according to Canadian Cancer
Society nearly half of Canadians are expected to receive a diagnosis of cancer in their lifetime.
The recovery of cancer patients and survivors depends on close monitoring of treatment
response and ensuring recurrence is detected early. However, current approaches are largely
ad-hoc, costly and have a low success rate, providing generic data on the presence of cancer
with no specific treatment guidance. The current ‘one size fits all’ approach limits the chance of
effective treatment and survival.
“The AI-based oncology software being developed and tested as a part of the CanDETECT
project will enable clinicians to perform a real-time assessment of tumor status, detect earlier
signs of patient relapse and recommend alternative treatment options, ensuring the best
possible outcome faster, more accurately and at less cost than current solutions,” said Geralyn
Ochab, CEO of Imagia Canexia Health. “This ‘Made in Canada’ solution will transform cancer
care for Canadians.”

The AI-based oncology software will identify and predict the best available targeted therapies
and/or clinical trials for cancer patients throughout the course of their treatment and will analyze
and track how each patient responds to therapy over time. The consortium will also harness
artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data to better predict patient response to
targeted therapy by integrating and analyzing multimodal patient data.
“The ability to monitor cancer recurrence dynamically means we can offer patients personalized
treatment responsive to the changing biology of their cancer,” said Bill Tam, COO of the Digital
Technology Supercluster. “We are extremely proud of the break-through research and
development happening between Imagia Canexia Health, BC Cancer Research, DNAstack,
Microsoft, Queen’s University and University Health Network. Together we are accelerating
progress against cancer and improving survival outcomes for all Canadians.”

The CanDETECT project has a total investment of $17.8 million, with $12.5 million invested by
industry and $5.3 million co-invested through the Supercluster’s Technology Leadership
program. Other supporting partners involved in this project include Illumina, Kingston General
Health Research Institute and Kingston Health Sciences Centre. More information on
CanDETECT can be found here.

Media Contact:
Elysa Darling
Director, Government Relations & Public Affairs
Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster
Email: edarling@digitalsupercluster.ca
Phone: 587-890-9833

About Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster
Ahead of the curve starts here. The Digital Supercluster drives digital innovation that is the
foundation of a resilient Canadian economy. We impact the lives of all Canadians through
technology advancements that prioritize environmental sustainability, advance healthcare and
accelerate business transformation and growth. Through a powerful combination of multi-sector
collaboration, industry co-investment, IP creation and digitally skilled talent development, the
Digital Supercluster is helping Canada fight against the pandemic, leverage ‘green’ technologies
to power the economy and improve the health and safety of every Canadian now, and for
generations to follow. Learn more at:  www.digitalsupercluster.ca

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