After a long research for six years, the University of Waterloo could detect early signs of prostate and breast cancer with a new MRI technology.
“What we noticed was that the cells in certain things like cancers, tumors, behave very differently in terms of the way the water molecules move within it compared to healthy tissue,” said Alexander Wong, a Waterloo professor of systems design engineering who is part of the core research team of four.
An irregular packing of cells causes prostate and breast cancer. Artificial correlated diffusion imaging finds these modifications. It is done by seizing, creating, and fraternization water molecule motion features, unlike gradient pulse strengths and controls. The cancerous tissues are then observable in a red highlight.
The distinctive gold standard MRI or magnetic resonance imaging provides health experts with information about water molecules’ interaction and behavior inside the body.
However, Wong elaborated that in a standard MRI, cancerous cells may be indistinguishable.
Doctors can distinguish cancerous cells from healthy ones through structural distortions with the help of scan processed in black and white.
“There are many cases where the actual cancerous tissue appears the same as the healthy tissue,” said Wong.
“It looks like it’s in stealth mode.”
Decision-making for Treatment
The latest technology may also better trace cancerous tissue. It can help in decision-making for treatment. “Knowing exactly what the margin of the cancer is, allows you to assess what you want to do with it. What kind of treatment to give. And from a surgical perspective, (it) lets you know where you want to cut,” he said.
The research team tested the new technology on 200 prostate cancer patients. Later Wong said, “it is better if we detect early signs, so it can make treatment easier.”
The research team included Hayden Gunraj and Vignesh Sivan who are graduates of Waterloo. It also included the University of Toronto Radiologist and clinician Scientist, Dr. Masoom Haider.
Medical experts at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Several Toronto hospitals, and the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research did this research in collaboration.
The experts also tested this technology on breast cancer. Wong said it showed promising results.
“I’m proud because one of my main goals is to move away from just theory — to be able to translate the fundamental theory that we develop to something tangible,” he said.
The team is now trying to introduce the new MRI technology to actual medical sites. When the clinicians will test this technology, they will suggest what they need to improve it and how it benefits the hospitals.
“At the end of the day, we build technology, but the end-users are who’s the most important,” said Wong.