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Cancer remains a significant health care problem: in Canada in 2007, over 22,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and over 4000 will die from the disease. The last decade has seen a 20% increase in the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer and this trend is projected to continue in the coming decade.
Management options for men with localized prostate cancer include active surveillance, radical prostatectomy, external beam radiotherapy, or brachytherapy. Currently, decisions about treatment are based on a limited set of clinical data: blood PSA levels, extent of the cancer on rectal examination, and cancer grade on biopsy.
This information is used to estimate the probability of prostate cancer spread, help select the appropriate treatment and predict the treatment success. While helpful, such estimates are based on groups of men and are limited in their ability to predict outcome or tailor therapies for individuals.
There is a pressing need for new techniques that can identify and characterize cancers in individual men to better select treatments and enable minimally invasive therapies to improve outcomes and reduce side effects.
We propose to combine different prostate cancer images using computed tomography, magnetic resonance, ultrasound and nuclear medicine techniques to create “hybrid imaging maps” that can be used to predict the location of cancer within the human prostate with millimetre accuracy.
We will evaluate the potential impact of hybrid imaging maps on patient outcomes and quality of life through clinical studies where our hybrid maps are used to guide diagnosis and treatment.
Finally, we will use animal models to develop new methods of imaging prostate cancer biologic processes that could be translated into new techniques for human use. Through the knowledge gained we hope to develop innovative techniques that will benefit cancer patients broadly through improved abilities to detect, map and treat cancer.