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World-first centre opts for ultrasound over scalpels

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

In partnership with Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, we have launched a unique dual-site centre that stands to revolutionize surgery through non-invasive treatments for complex health concerns including cancers.

"Congratulations to Sunnybrook and to their partners in Thunder Bay on yet another example of leadership in health care innovations. New technologies like this will not only put Ontario on the world stage as an innovator, but also will improve the quality of health services for patients," says Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Teams of clinicians and scientists at both sites are developing new treatments using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)-guided, focused ultrasound. Patients with complex health concerns would benefit greatly from surgery but in many cases traditional operations pose high risks.

With MRI-guided focused ultrasound therapy, many of these risks can be overcome by the fact that procedures are performed without making a surgical incision and without the use of needles.

In the centre's first patient trials for this approach, teams have chosen to apply the procedure to uterine fibroids.

Dr. Kullervo Hynynen, director of imaging at Sunnybrook Research Institute pioneered this MRI-guided focused ultrasound technology.

"These clinical trials are significant both in future treatment availability in Canada, and in informing our imminent work in the new year on non-invasive treatments for cancer patients," says Dr. Hynynen.

The researchers will expand their new therapy team with trials with clinicians at our Odette Cancer Centre and at Thunder Bay, for the treatment of patients with bone metastases, recurrent breast tumours, head and neck tumours, and rectal tumours.

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