Medical Imaging Instrumentation and Software Project

Prostate cancer is the second (to skin cancer) most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third highest cause of cancer related mortality in men. It is found at autopsy in 40% of men at the age of 60, and almost 90% at age 90. Worldwide, it is the second leading cause of death due to cancer in men, accounting for between 2.1% and 15.2% of all cancer deaths. In Canada, in 2010, over 24,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer (over 27% of all male cancers) and over 4,000 (over 10% of all male cancer deaths) died from the disease. A team of OICR investigators have invented technologies for use in 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 MR 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 the OICR investigators. The concept of accurate guidance of focal therapy also is being extended to focal ablation of small cancers in the liver. This approach makes use of a new development of a 3D ultrasound guidance scanner allowing accurate placement of the therapy applicator at tumour sites in the liver.

These new technologies will improve the 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, guidance of the needle insertion to the targeted locations will be more accurate, potentially resulting in improved diagnosis and better cancer control.

Lead Investigator


Dr. Aaron Fenster

  • Robarts Research Institute, Western University
  • CIMTEC