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Federal government invests in local tissue lab

THUNDER BAY - A federal government investment of nearly half-a-million dollars will allow a unique provincial tissue lab to expand its research.
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David Stezenko, Executive Director of RegenMed and MP Patty Hajdu (Lib., Thunder Bay – Superior North). (Doug Diaczuk, tbnewswatch.com)

THUNDER BAY - A federal government investment of nearly half-a-million dollars will allow a unique provincial tissue lab to expand its research.

The Lakehead Superior Centre for Regenerative Medicine received $494,900 from FedNor’s Northern Ontario development program.

The funding will be used to purchase new equipment and start research on new and in demand tissue products for surgeons across the province.

“This is going to allow our lab to purchase equipment and start research on demineralized cortical bone and cortical bone matrix, which is a product that is just exploding on the market for orthopedic and trauma surgeons,” explained David Stezenko, executive director with RegenMed. “It’s going to allow us to do the research and maybe be Canada’s first producer of this product.”

RegenMed is currently the only muscular skeletal processing centre in Ontario. The local not-for-profit opened its doors in 2004 and began supplying transplantable bone for Northwestern Ontario surgeons.

Minister of the Status of Women, Patty Hajdu, made the announcement at the local lab on Monday on behalf of Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Minister responsible for FedNor.

“This is very exciting news for Thunder Bay,” Hajdu said. “Certainly, from a federal government perspective, it meets several of our goals, one is to support innovation and investment in a diverse economy, but also to support local opportunities for innovation and economic growth. From my perspective this was a real win win for the federal government.”

Stezenko said that they hope to expand beyond the Ontario market, establishing itself in other Canadian provinces and in the future looking to enter the U.S. market.

“In order for us to stay ahead of what is breaking technology and what surgeons need, we need the support of the province, we need the support of the federal government,” he said. “We can’t do it without them.”