Medical Imaging Instrumentation and Software Project


Second only to skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third highest cause of cancer related mortality in men. It is found at autopsy in 40 per cent of men at the age of 60, and almost 90 per cent at age 90. Worldwide, it is the second leading cause of death due to cancer in men, accounting for between 2.1 per cent and 15.2 per cent of all cancer deaths. In Canada, in 2010, more than 24,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer (over 27 per cent of all male cancers) and more than 4,000 (over 10 per cent of all male cancer deaths) died from the disease. A team of OICR investigators have invented technologies for use in the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. Together with collaborators at clinical centres in Ontario, the team will complete a new system for diagnosing prostate cancer. The system is used to guide prostate biopsies using 3D ultrasound fused with magnetic resonance images. The team will also develop a new approach for destroying focal prostate tumours. This approach uses laser energy to raise the temperature of the cancer until it is destroyed. This focal therapy approach requires accurate guidance, which is being developed by OICR investigators. The concept of accurate guidance of focal therapy is also being extended to focal ablation of small cancers in the liver. This approach makes use of a new technology; a 3D ultrasound guidance scanner allowing accurate placement of the therapy applicator at tumour sites in the liver.

These new technologies will improve prostate cancer biopsy and therapy procedures and liver cancer therapy procedures. By combining 3D imaging with novel software and hardware tools, cancer targets will be visualized more effectively in 3D, planning the procedure will be more accurate and guidance of the needle insertion to the targeted locations will be more accurate, potentially resulting in improved diagnosis and better cancer control.


  • Image-Guided Robotic System for Pre-Clinical Interventions;
  • MR Guided Focal Prostate Therapy;
  • Multi-Modality Guided Focal Liver Ablation;
  • Multi-Modality Guided Prostate Biopsy.

Lead Principal Investigator
Dr. Aaron Fenster, Robarts Research Institute, University of Western Ontario and Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization