A Halifax startup company has received a $500,000 loan from the federal government to develop a product that could dramatically reduce the number of hysterectomies.


A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. Bleeding is not always visible on an x-ray. (iStock)


ABK Biomedical will test a new material that could reduce pain from non-cancerous fibroid tumours in women.

A problem for many middle-aged women suffering from benign, uterine tumours is bleeding, which isn't always visible on an x-ray. The medical company's newly patented, glass bead will block the artery and permit light to give radiologists, like Bob Abraham, a clear image.

If it works, some women won't need hysterectomies — the surgical removal of the uterus — at all and those who do should find the operation faster and safer.

"Bob had an idea and had a problem in his clinic and separate from ever meeting Bob, I had an idea for that solution and Dal ILA brought us together to bring an idea from what was essentially a post-it note to a prototype," said Daniel Boyd, chief science officer at ABK Biomedical.

Boyd came from Ireland three years ago and his non-toxic glass beads have attracted interest from both private investors and government.

The government's $500,000 repayable loan will finance a trial on animals with the goal of making the device safe for women.

"A technology with the potential to help nearly one quarter of people on earth over the age of 35 makes both a strong humanitarian and strong business case," said Bernard Valcourt, minister for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

The biomedical company expects to hire seven people over the next two years as it brings the device to market.