Dr. Martin Yaffe

Co-Program Director, Imaging Program

Dr. Martin Yaffe’s research is directed toward development and improvement of imaging techniques for the earlier detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer, with a strong focus on breast cancer. His team is also interested in methods for analyzing image patterns to predict breast cancer risk and using these as tools to study the causes of breast cancer and to help develop preventive measures.

His team has established a comprehensive program in biomarker imaging research, which includes development of new techniques for 3D pathology including whole mount large format tissue slides development and analysis. These techniques are used for validation of new in vivo imaging methods, as well as for investigating approaches to improving accuracy of pathology, and adding prognostic and predictive information in management of cancer.

Currently the effort of the laboratory is largely focused on developing biomarker multiplexing techniques in cancer studies to examine molecular changes in different areas of the tumours and to define the extent of cancer heterogeneity by characterizing each clone with biomarker signatures, as well as investigating potential functional relationships between them. This information could also be used to further delineate subtypes of cancers for developing treatments that can target heterogeneous tumours. In this area we are currently involved in collaborative projects developing biomarker panels for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), ovarian cancer and immune checkpoint inhibitors.

The two main foci of Yaffe’s research are integrated in a number of radiomics and radiogenomics studies that compare biomarker and molecular signatures of tumour cells and microenvironment with imaging biomarkers derived from medical breast images.

Yaffe’s lab made fundamental contributions to the technical development and clinical evaluation of digital mammography and to the establishment of mammographic density as risk predictors both for breast cancer and for the likelihood that a cancer will be missed at mammography screening. Yaffe is part of the leadership team of TMIST, a randomized trial of digital breast tomosynthesis for earlier detection of potentially lethal breast cancers.

Current affiliations

  • Program Director, Imaging Program, OICR
  • Tory Family Chair in Cancer Research
  • Professor, Departments of Medical Biophysics and Medical Imaging, University of Toronto
  • Senior Scientist, Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI)

Research interests

  • Breast cancer
  • Earlier detection
  • Screening
  • Digital breast tomosynthesis
  • Biomarkers
  • Precision medicine
  • Over/under treatment
  • Multiplexing
  • Multispectral deconvolution
  • Whole mount immunohistochemistry
  • Imaging-pathology validation
  • 3D Pathology tools
  • Image analysis

Select publications

See Dr. Yaffe’s recent publications on Pubmed or on Google Scholar.

Tools

Various display and analysis tools for:

  • 3D image reconstruction of slide images – this includes corrections for distortion
  • Interactive 3D image display and analysis
  • Colour calibration: Pipeline for the correlation of 3D in vivo imaging to histopathology

Software

  • Cumulus 6 and Cumulus V Software for quantitative assessment of breast density. Used worldwide
  • DMISTIFIER – software for measurement of image quality of digital radiographs
  • Software for Quality Control for large mammography screening programs
  • Software for Quality Control in a large randomized study of breast tomosynthesis

Other achievements

  • Founder of two start-up companies: Volpara Solutions and Mammographic Physics Inc.
  • Patent # 4,638,502, January 20, 1987
    “Anthropomorphic Phantoms”
  • Patent #8,120,683 B1
    “High resolution digital imaging apparatus”
  • Patent # 7,286,632, October 23, 2007
    “Method and apparatus for measuring the thickness of compressed objects”
  • Patent # A61B6/00; A61B6/03; A61B6/12 Dec 30, 2015
    “Systems and methods for generating an imaging biomarker that indicates detectability or conspicuity of lesions in a mammographic image”
  • Disclosure ”Rapid-Setting Adhesive Hydrogel to Support Rapid Grossing and Hypersampling of Large Surgical Specimens” (2012)
  • Disclosure ”Tissue Slicing Mould for Rapid Grossing and Hypersampling of Large Surgical Specimens”(2012)

Awards

  • University of Manitoba, Doctor of Science Honora Causa, 2018
  • Odette Cancer Program, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Edmond Odette Prize for Innovation and Technology in Cancer Care, 2017
  • Physics in Medicine and Biology, Top 25 most important publications in 60 years
  • Order of Canada, Member, July 1, 2015
  • The Society of Breast Imaging, Honorary Fellow, 2014
  • Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Cause Leadership Award, April, 2011
  • Tory Chair in Cancer Research, 2007

Previous experience and education

  • Program Director, Smarter Imaging Program, OICR
  • Co-Program Director, Imaging Translation Program, OICR
  • Associate Professor, Departments of Radiology and Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto
  • Senior Scientist Physics Division, the Ontario Cancer Institute, University Health Network
  • Consultant Physicist, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto
  • Consultant Physicist: National Cancer Institute of Canada, National Breast Screening Study, Ontario Breast Screening Program
  • PhD, Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto

Opportunities to collaborate

Yaffe welcomes collaborators in many areas of research that involve the development of more accurate quantitative techniques, validation of novel medical imaging methods and design of new therapies including:

  • Whole mount technique development
  • Biomarker panel multiplexing
  • Intelligent image analysis tools
  • Imaging/pathology correlation for imaging clinical trials and pilot projects

Visit OICR’s Collaborative Research Resources directory for more opportunities to collaborate with Dr. Yaffe.

Related links

Sunnybrook Research Institute – Dr. Martin Yaffe

Sunnybrook Research Institute – BIRL website

Contact

Yulia Yerofeyeva
yulia.yerofeyeva@sri.utoronto.ca
Program Manager
Sunnybrook Research Institute