Research & development
$12 million research platform for
BAY, Ont. – The Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute has announced
the launch of a $12 million Imaging Guided Interventions research
platform and the acquisition of two Philips 3T MRI scanners.
One of the MRI machines will be used for translational research at
Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), the other for
joint research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
Scientists at the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute, in
partnership with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Philips
Healthcare, will use the MRI scanners to investigate different
applications of HIFU (High-intensity focused ultrasound) therapy in
treating cancer tumours and will ultimately develop new medical devices
for the international market.
HIFU is an example of Image-Guided Interventions, which are used to
improve surgical procedures and often eliminate the need for invasive
surgery, resulting in better outcomes and faster recovery for patients.
“There is a global need for the development of new technologies that
allow for the early diagnosis and treatment of disease,” said Keith
Jobbitt, Chair of the Board, Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute.
“We will be taking a leadership role in the development of molecular
imaging and advanced diagnostic research in this partnership with TBRHSC,
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Philips Healthcare.”
The leading-edge Philips Achieva 3T X-series MRI scanners are key
building blocks in the research collaboration between Thunder Bay and
Sunnybrook. MRI scanners provide a high quality method of medical
imaging. HIFU uses heat to destroy tumours, and since MRIs can monitor
temperature changes in tissues, scientists can readily assess the result
of the HIFU therapy.
Dr. Laura Curiel (pictured) and Dr. Samuel Pichardo, both scientists with the
Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute, will work with Dr. Kullervo
Hynynen of Sunnybrook Research Institute to explore the use of HIFU as a
leading non-invasive therapy for a wide range of medical conditions,
from soft-tissue cancer tumours to neurodegenerative disease.
“This partnership shows that distance is no object when it comes to
sharing a vision of inventing the future of healthcare,” said Dr.
Michael Julius, Vice President, Research, Sunnybrook Health Sciences
Centre. “The establishment of this research platform will see the
pioneering work of Dr. Hynynen advanced to the next level of innovation
with Drs. Curiel and Pichardo in Thunder Bay. In doing so, they will
accelerate discovery, so that we can translate the results to our
The Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute is committed to bringing
innovative technologies and techniques to patients in Northwestern
Ontario. Not only does this benefit patients, the regional economy will
benefit as technology innovations go to market in the global arena.
About the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute
The Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute is Canada’s newest health
research institute. It is an independent, not-for-profit research
corporation and a joint venture partner of Thunder Bay Regional Health
Sciences Centre (TBRHSC). The Research Institute’s mission is to improve
the quality of healthcare through excellence in patient-centred
research, pioneering a new standard of excellence in the clinical
investigation of novel molecular imaging-based diagnostic technologies
for disease prevention, early detection and image-guided treatment. Key
partners include Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Lakehead University,
Philips Healthcare, Cancer Care Ontario, the Northern Ontario School of
Medicine and Confederation College.
About Sunnybrook Research Institute
Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI), the research enterprise of
Toronto-based Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, is inventing the future
of healthcare. At SRI, researchers strive to understand and prevent
disease, and to develop treatments that enhance and extend life. These
aims derive from a core mission: to make discoveries in medical science
and translate them into the clinic to benefit patients. As one of the
fastest-growing research institutes in Canada, SRI now conducts over
$100 million in research annually, a threefold increase since 1998. Its
180 scientists have an international reputation for excellence in
medical research in the areas of molecular and cellular biology,
imaging, clinical integrative biology, clinical epidemiology and health
services sciences as they apply to the most pressing problems in health