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Medical imaging

Molecular imaging centre gets the green light

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The Molecular Medicine Research Centre (MMRC), a unique cross-Ontario collaboration involving Sunnybrook Research Institute, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, Lakehead University and Philips Medical Systems has received a $14.7 million investment from the Government of Canada. (Pictured: Dr. Fred Gilbert, Dr. Michael Julius, Minister Tony Clement, MP Joe Comuzzi, Ron Nelson, John Cieslowski, Dr. Terry Sullivan, Michael Power.)

This investment matches provincial support for MMRC and complements more than $10 million of municipal support.

“Canada will achieve global competitiveness through multi-sector partnerships like the MMRC, where support of excellence in discovery research can align with and capitalize on industry investment. This is a transformative initiative, and we’re proud to be part of it,” said Dr. Michael Julius, Vice President, Research, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

“This investment completes a partnership of world-class organizations pursuing molecular medicine and imaging strategies and will translate directly to patient care,” said Ron Saddington, President and CEO, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

The MMRC will conduct research merging biology, physics and engineering towards the development of new molecular imaging technology and imaging guided diagnostics and treatment for cancer. Discovery and translational research conducted at MMRC will establish new standards for best clinical care and ultimately improve national cancer prevention and outcomes.

“The MMRC is an incredible asset for Northwestern Ontario and for the entire country. The federal investment announced today, together with the contributions of other partners will enable new discoveries which improve the diagnosis and treatment of all cancer patients,” said Dr. Terry Sullivan, President & CEO, Cancer Care Ontario.

The MMRC has appointed Dr. John Rowlands as Founding Scientific Director.

Dr. Rowlands is a senior scientist, Sunnybrook Research Institute and head of medical physics research, Odette Cancer Centre. He brings his expertise to this research collaborative and will oversee infrastructure and resource sharing, leading up to the MMRC’s opening scheduled for March 2008.

His areas of focus include developing new detectors for improved diagnosis using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and High-Intensity Ultrasound (HIFU) guided by Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to harness heat to destroy cancers deep in the body without surgery.

About Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Odette Cancer Centre
(formerly Toronto Sunnybrook Regional Cancer Centre)

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is transforming healthcare through the dedication of its more than 10,000 staff members who provide compassionate and innovative patient focused care. Odette Cancer Centre provides care to over 10,000 new patients every year, offers a full range of inpatient and outpatient treatment and supportive care programs, is a Cancer Care Ontario partner and is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto. As the sixth largest comprehensive cancer centre in North America, the Centre is ranked among a select group who engage in intense research and community outreach, and who provide the full spectrum of patient care.