Sunnybrook gets fed cash for research

[attach]5872[/attach]The federal government has announced $6.91 million in funding for Sunnybrook Research Institute to help speed-up the development and commercialization of four treatment and monitoring systems.

The investment will see Sunnybrook work with Western University [formerly the University of Western Ontario] and 19 private partners use Sunnybrook’s Centre for Research in Image-Guided Therapy and two Western research centres.

The first is focused on commercialization of ultrasound surgery, which was developed at Sunnybrook. It uses ultrasound energy to destroy tumours and lesions without having to cut through skin.

“This will allow us to capitalize on our research results … now we can transfer it to the private sector, and through that, benefit patients worldwide,” said Sunnybrook’s director of imaging research, Dr. Kullervo Hynynen.

The second piece is magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] intervention. The research teams will be looking at how to use this technology to monitor treatments such as non-invasive surgery to unblock arteries.

Thirdly, partners will look into developing an early feedback system for chemotherapy patients.

Last but not least, the research teams will combine optical and ultrasound imaging technologies to create a hybrid catheter for imaging of coronary atherosclerosis, or in other words, a device that can see inside the heart’s chambers in 3-D.

The improved technologies will result in improved patient care, shorter recovery times and less-invasive surgeries.

“One outcome, for example, will be a radically new way to treat uterine fibroids [benign tumours of the uterus], by making it an outpatient procedure with so little downtime that patients can return to their normal lives the very next day,” said Don Valley West MP John Carmichael, who spoke at the event for the federal government.

But in addition to improved healthcare, Carmichael said the investment would also help the economy by stimulating the public and private sectors.

“Our contribution will enable Sunnybrook to accelerate and extend the clinical application of the therapy,” Carmichael said. “Of course this work will mean jobs here in Southern Ontario, but the benefits of these technologies will be much more far reaching.”

According to Carmichael, the investment will create 36 highly skilled jobs at Sunnybrook.