McMaster in Hamilton using drones to deliver medical supplies to Oakville hospital


Published October 20, 2022 at 11:16 am

It is called Care By Air: medical isotopes made at McMaster University that are used to treat prostate cancer patients are being delivered by drone from to an Oakville hospital.

In what is being called the first use of an autonomous drone delivery system for shipping medical goods directly to hospitals, the Hamilton university, Drone Delivery Canada (DDC), Air Canada Cargo and DSV Canada are partnering on a project that could make it moving health-care goods quicker, safer and more efficient. That includes iodine-125, a medical isotope that is made at the the McMaster Nuclear Reactor and used to treat prostate cancer. Some 70,000 cancer patients are treated with Mac-manufactured medical isotopes each year.

The Care By Air pilot project will involve transport goods to Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital for on-site patient diagnosis and treatment. Oakville Trafalgar hospital is operated by Halton Healthcare.

“McMaster is a recognized leader in the discovery and commercialization of medical isotope technologies — some of the most time-critical medical supplies in the world,” states Andrea Armstrong, a research scientist at the reactor and adjunct professor of chemistry and chemical biology at McMaster.

A Care By Air test flight was held Oct. 13 at DSV Global Transport and Logistics in Milton. The aforementioned DDC firm is contributing its Sparrow drone, its DroneSpot takeoff and landing zones and proprietary software to support the initiative.

If all goes well, the project could potentially help other

“Our proprietary drone logistics platform is a perfect fit for delivering high-value and high-risk cargo, as is typical in the health-care market,” states Steve Magirias, who is the chief executive officer at DDC Canada.

(Cover photo: Pexels stock image.)

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