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Lakehead medical researcher is an innovation star

Thunder Bay's Oleksandr Bubon receives national award for low-radiation breast imaging device
Oleksandr Bubon and Alla Reznik, shown in this 2017 photo, are co-founders of Radialis Medical in Thunder Bay. (File photo)

A Lakehead University postdoctoral fellow has been nationally recognized for his innovative “breakthrough” technology in breast cancer detection.

At a Nov. 26 ceremony in Ottawa, Thunder Bay's Oleksandr Bubon received an outstanding commercialization award from Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that promotes innovation by solving business challenges through academic research.

While studying under Canada Research Chair, Professor and Senior Scientist Dr. Alla Reznik, Bubon developed an leading-edge medical imaging technology that delivers high-resolution, low radiation-dose pictures, offering an alternative to mammography, positron emission tomography (PET) scan and other imaging devices.

The technology exposes patients to 10 to 15 times less radiation than traditional PET scans while delivering highly sensitive, accurate images that can detect extremely small tumours in their earliest stages of cancer, particularly in women with denser breast tissue than average.

It’s the cornerstone technology that Bubon developed as the chief technology officer for Radialis Medical, a spinoff company that’s a joint venture between Lakehead University and the Thunder Bay Research Institute.

Bubon and Reznik co-founded the company in February 2016.

The latest prototype, a fully-enclosed system on wheels, is undergoing clinical trials at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. Validation results are due by year’s end.

“It is an honour to receive this award and have my research recognized in this way,” said Bubon, in a statement.

“There is a huge need for this lower-dose, high-resolution imaging device and we’re only just beginning to see the incredible potential this technology has.”

A news release said the Radialis is working to scale its manufacturing and quality control efforts with the expectation of becoming an FDA and Health Canada-approved medical device manufacturer by mid-2020.

The Mitacs & NCR-IRAP Award that Bubon received is presented to a Mitacs intern for an idea brought from research that is either on the market or soon to be commercialized.

He is one of eight Mitacs award winners nationally, chosen from thousands of researchers who take part in Mitacs programs each year.

“Innovation in Canada continues to be inspired by the groundbreaking work of up-and-coming researchers that touch all industry sectors and help to fuel the economy,” said Jennifer Wilkie, Mitacs interim CEO in a statement.

“We know that employers are looking for students and graduates with real-world experience so they can make an immediate impact in the workforce,” added Colleges and Universities Minister Ross Romano.

“By working with Mitacs to support experiential learning and the innovative work of researchers like Oleksandr Bubon, we can help more people get the meaningful, hands-on learning opportunities they need to secure good jobs and support Ontario’s growing economy.”

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