Queen's University

New technology helps fight prostate cancer


Innovative imaging software developed at Queen’s University increases the effectiveness of widely used prostate cancer treatment option by focusing radiation treatment on target areas and reducing radiation damage to surrounding tissue.

The computer program, when integrated with clinical brachytherapy equipment, allows for the optimal placement of radioactive capsules in the prostate, killing the cancer cells from the inside out. The accuracy of the treatment relied heavily on the experience of the clinician. This software allows younger, less experienced urologists to provide the same level of care as those with more experience.

“The use of this new software should result in higher radiation doses to the cancerous cells while significantly reducing toxic radiation to surrounding normal tissues,” says Gabor Fichtinger (School of Computing). “Radiation damage to normal tissue can result in incontinence, ulceration or impotence.”

The American Society for Radiation Oncology had been calling for this technology for over a decade, but until now the technological barrier had been thought to be insurmountable.

Dr. Fichtinger's team developed the software at the Percutaneous Surgery Lab at Queen’s in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University Hospital and Acoustic MedSystems Inc. The implementation of this technology significantly improves current treatment and could become the choice for fighting early stage prostate cancer.

“Because this is a pure software solution, it integrates easily and seamlessly with the standard clinical equipment,” says Anne-Vivian Scott, vice-president of commercial development at PARTEQ. “It is an example of innovation addressing the needs of patients, doctors and the healthcare industry.”

The current version of the computer software Interventional Registration Ultrasound Fluoroscopy (iRUF) was built with the research support of PARTEQ Innovations and $200,000 in funding has been provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s Idea to Innovation Program.

The iRUF is presently being tested in a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, the world’s preeminent prostate cancer care centre.

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Last updated at 4:38 pm EDT, Thu August 28, 2014
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