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Biomedical imaging research suite

There have been major advances in imaging technology over the last decade. Critical now is the translation of those lab-made results into clinical studies and ultimately to patients—the main focus of this imaging suite.

Equipment in this suite is state-of-the-art. It is enabling our scientists to develop new ways to see inside the body, to deliver therapy into the brain and body, and to monitor that therapy after it has been delivered, to evaluate how well it is working.

This facility is a core resource for scientists working on a variety of clinical challenges. One team is testing high-intensity focused ultrasound, a technology pioneered by an SRI scientist, whereby focused ultrasound is delivered into the brain under magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance to ablate lesions in the brain. Some of the applications have moved into clinical trials, including those for essential tremor and brain tumours, while researchers are working to optimize the technology for other conditions, like stroke.

Scientists are also developing methods that use focused ultrasound to disrupt the blood-brain barrier temporarily and safely. The disruption allows drugs and other therapeutic agents, like antibodies and gene therapy, to be delivered into the brain to a target area while sparing healthy tissue. This research will revolutionize the treatment of some of the most intractable diseases, including Alzheimer's disease and brain cancer.

Other researchers are using a 7T Bruker MRI scanner, one of only four such systems in Canada. Experiments include evaluating changes in the vascular and cellular organization of tumours undergoing anticancer therapies; imaging for viral drug delivery in spinal cord injuries; developing nanostructures as contrast agents; and doing behavourial studies in new models of stroke.