Partnership aligns area imaging expertise

A new multi-million dollar partnership in local medical imaging technology will be an opportunity to bring research findings to patient bedsides more rapidly and readily than ever before, according to university and hospital officials.

Announced today, Western, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and St. Joseph’s Health Care London have partnered with Canon Medical Systems Canada to create an unprecedented alignment across the medical community in advanced Computed Tomography (CT).

“Thanks to Canon’s investment, we will, for the first time, have the same CT equipment being used for patient care as we are using for research,” said Dr. Narinder Paul, Chair/Chief of the Department of Medical Imaging at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, LHSC and St. Joseph’s.

The new partnership includes the investment of a $4.5 million dedicated research CT system, an angio suite and portable ultrasound machine to be used for medical-imaging research. The equipment will be housed at Western’s Robarts Research Institute, and used by both Western and Lawson Health Research Institute scientists.

“Having the Canon equipment installed at Robarts Research Institute will allow our scientists to use innovative approaches to take the technology to a new level,” said Marlys Koschinsky, Scientific and Executive Director of Robarts Research Institute at Western. “We are very excited to be part of this initiative that will ultimately translate into improved patient care.”

Additionally, LHSC and St. Joseph’s are acquiring six clinical CTs to be used for patient care, which will standardize all of the CT equipment at London’s hospitals. Two will be installed at University Hospital, three at Victoria Hospital and one at St. Joseph’s.

Combined across the university and hospitals, London will become home to the world’s largest installation of the most advanced CT platform from Canon Medical.

The partnership with Canon Medical also provides the opportunity to establish a training academy and a Canon Medical National Centre of Excellence in London. As new advanced CT protocols are developed and validated here, hands-on training will be provided for medical-imaging students and researchers from across campus or the city, as well as from around the world.

This is about knowledge translation, university officials said, taking the information that we glean through our research and getting it out to the broader population.

“As Southwestern Ontario’s only medical school, we are very pleased that the partnership also provides for the establishment of a training academy,” said Dr. Davy Cheng, Schulich Acting Dean. “We expect this training to attract interest from medical learners and professionals internationally, and we will welcome them to London to learn from our clinical and research leaders.”

CT provides diagnostic information through combination of thousands of ultralow dose, high-resolution X-ray images to create cross-sectional images of the brain, heart, lungs, abdominal and pelvic organs, and blood vessels. CT provides imaging for most medical and surgical emergencies; it is the standard of care for routine assessment and evaluation of patients with a wide range of conditions including many cancers.

London research will focus on improving patient safety by finding ways to lower radiation dose, developing faster and more detailed imaging techniques, and personalizing the patient experience.