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Courtesy of MaRS Innovation

GE partners with Sunnybrook and MaRS Innovation for ultrasound chemotherapy monitoring technology

by Lauren Dubinsky , Senior Reporter
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and MaRS Innovation announced yesterday a partnership with GE Healthcare to develop the chemotherapy monitoring technology, WaveCheck, as a clinical tool. A clinical study investigating the technology is currently underway at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas.

WaveCheck uses ultrasound technology and takes only a week to evaluate how a breast cancer tumor responds to chemotherapy. If red shows up on the ultrasound scan then the treatment isn't working but yellow means it is working.

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The technology was invented by Dr. Gregory Czarnota, chief of radiation oncology at Sunnybrook's Odette Cancer Centre and Michael C. Kolios, professor and associate dean of research graduate studies at Ryerson University's Faculty of Science.

The conventional way of monitoring chemotherapy is by physical exams, MRI scan, or CT scans, but that can take four to six months to yield an answer. Getting that answer within a week has the potential to significantly alleviate patient anxiety.

This new partnership will bring together GE’s extensive ultrasound technology and market expertise and Sunnybrook’s experience in oncology research and cancer care through the Odette Cancer Centre.

“To reach people worldwide with breast cancer who stand to benefit from this technology, we need a global partner who also values and prioritizes investment in tomorrow's health care," Dr. Michael Julius, vice-president of research at Sunnybrook, said in a statement.

In fall 2013, WaveCheck got support from more than 500 people around the world and raised $53,390 on an Indiegogo campaign led by MaRS Innovation. It was also awarded a major grant from the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research in April 2014.

In May 2014, the funds were used to open a second test site for the technology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. The study at the center involving 20 Canadian and 20 American women with locally-advanced breast cancer will help Sunnybrook determine if WaveCheck generates the same results when used at other cancer centers.

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