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Techna, Siemens to advance surgical technologies

Jonathan IrishTORONTO – The University Health Network has recently partnered with Siemens Healthcare to develop and test the next generation of integrated image-guided interventions. UHN’s Techna Institute will lead this collaboration through its Guided Therapeutics Core.

Techna and Siemens will develop tools for image-guided surgery and evaluate their use in two important clinical sites: head and neck cancer, and thoracic cancer. Dr. Jonathan Irish (pictured), Clinical Lead for Techna’s Guided Therapeutics (GTx) Core, will lead the head and neck team while Dr. Kazuhiro Yasufuku will lead the thoracic team.

The partnership focuses on clinical research in UHN’s Guided Therapeutics Operating Room, or GTx-OR. This new OR is dedicated to clinical and engineering research, with a multidisciplinary team of specialists developing real-time, image-guided, minimally invasive and molecular-guided surgery methods and technologies. The unique GTx-OR houses top-of-the-line medical imaging systems, including a Somatom Flash CT and an Artis Zeego robotic cone-beam CT.

Both trials will examine the role of intra-operative imaging and guidance on surgical precision and accuracy. The trials and collaborations will also aid further technical developments of tracking, navigation and image analysis tools. UHN’s Techna Institute will provide the core of the clinical and engineering development, while Siemens will provide assistance in developing imaging protocols and integrating Siemens’ image information with the navigation and analysis tools developed or already in-use at UHN.

“Think of it as GPS for surgeons,” says Dr. Irish. “With new multimodal technologies to help us navigate inside the body in new ways, we are able to spare healthy tissue, ensure greater precision, and deliver targeted therapies with fewer side effects. That’s all very good news for patients,” says Dr. Jonathan Irish on the clinical importance of image-guided surgery.

Siemens is supporting the projects with a collaborative research package, comprising a research grant and human resources including a project manager and applications and product specialists. UHN researchers will also have access to the Siemens Research and Development, Product Marketing, and Management groups.

“Siemens is excited by the opportunity to partner with the GTx team,” says Todd English from Siemens. “The GTx-OR is a unique surgical facility for translational research, and with this collaboration with Techna we can accelerate our efforts to assess and enhance the clinical and technical science of image-guided interventions, the workflow surrounding the patient and staff, and work towards our long-term vision of affordable, personalized healthcare.”

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