Research impact: Improving treatment for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among men in Canada. Focal therapy ablation (FLA) is a well-suited treatment.  However, it is not commonly used due to a limitation in accurately locating the cancerous lesions. Coupling FLA with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) could boost its accuracy significantly.

A Mitacs Accelerate intern from the Department of Biomedical Imaging at École Polytechnique de Montréal looked into improving the efficacy of FLA with MRI, in partnership with Polymer Robotics.

What is this research about?

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among men in Canada. Early detection of prostate cancer is very important and leads to five year survival rates of nearly 100%. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a useful early detection tool that detects small (5mm) tumors. Focal therapy ablation (FLA) is well suited for prostate cancer treatment and has less negative side effects than other treatments. FLA is not commonly used due to limitations in accurately locating the cancerous lesion and reaching the target. Developing a tool that uses MRI to increase the accuracy and effectiveness of FLA as a prostate cancer treatment could lead to a safer, more effective treatment for this disease.

What did the researchers do?

The researchers worked with Polymer Robotics to develop a navigation platform that can be used to plan the position of targets for the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer. This platform will use MRI to guide a robotic needle, allowing a surgeon to locate a lesion and target that precise location more effectively.

This project involved developing a document of requirements (DOR) for the development of the imaging platform, using the DOR to evaluate 4 commercially available platforms, integrating the navigation platform with a hardware controller, and the creation of a detailed workflow document.

What did the researchers find?

The researchers were able develop the DOR and select an appropriate commercially available platform. They also created a state diagram integrating the navigation platform with the hardware controller. The workflow document created by the researchers will aid in the development of the platform’s user interface and the testing plan design.

How can you use this research?

This research will be used to develop imaging navigation software and a navigation platform that provides reproducible results in a clinical setting. This may ultimately lead to a novel and FDA approved navigation platform for a Polymer Robotics needle steering device.

About the Researchers

This research was supported by the Mitacs Accelerate program.

Claudia Chevrefils is a postdoctoral fellow in biomedical imaging at École Polytechnique de Montréal in Montreal, PQ. Samuel Kadoury is a professor of biomedical engineering and Canada Research Chair in interventional guidance and medical imaging at École Polytechnique de Montréal in Montreal, PQ. David Bouchard is the CEO of Polymer Robotics in Sherbrooke, PQ.

In partnership with ResearchImpact, we are looking at outcomes from Mitacs Accelerate internships. ResearchImpact is a pan-Canadian network of 11 universities committed to maximizing the impact of academic research for the social, economic, environmental, and health benefits of Canadians. Both Mitacs and ResearchImpact are committed to illustrating that research has the potential to positively impact every aspect of life. 


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