Dr. R. Malthaner, MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS, FCCP

Dr. Malthaner is the Chair/Chief of the Division of Thoracic Surgery, Director of Thoracic Surgery Research and Professor in the Departments of Surgery, Oncology, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry and The University of Western Ontario. Dr. Malthaner is a scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute and one of the founding members of Canadian Surgical Technologies and Advanced Robotics (CSTAR).

Research Applications
Dr. Malthaner’s research is focused on translating minimally invasive robot assisted technologies developed at CSTAR into clinical practice.  One of the most promising treatment options is a minimally invasive treatment that involves the direct placement of therapeutic agents into lung cancers via robotic assistance.  This innovative treatment avoids major surgery, systemic chemotherapy, and conventional radiation, and allows for the precise, consistent and safe placement of therapeutic agents. The research is focused on the development of a small, low-cost, safe and versatile minimally invasive robot assisted system for tumour ablation therapies (MIRATAT). This system incorporates robotic arms, electromagnetic navigation, tactile imaging and real-time ultrasound tumour localization to allow accurate placement of delivery probes through a master-slave setup. Previous work at CSTAR has enabled his team to develop a lung tumour model for ultrasound image guidance; a three-dimensional minimally invasive surgical ultrasound for lung tumour imaging; an endoscopic device to locate tumours by palpation; a new device for robotic brachytherapy seed insertion; and electromagnetic needle guidance software.  Future work involves the building of our own robotic system for lung cancer therapy and testing the MIRATAT system using new modalities such as radiosensitizers, lasers, radiofrequency ablation, microwave therapy, cryotherapy, and gene therapy. With the hope of translating this research into the world’s first MIRATAT clinical procedure, this project represents renewed hope for the thousands of lung cancer patients who die needlessly each and every year.

Notable Achievements

Dr. Malthaner’s achievements include performing many of Canada’s first robotic-assisted procedures, which include resection of a lung cancer, apical bullectomy for a collapsed lung, and minimally invasive esophagectomy for esophageal cancer. Notably, he also performed the world’s first robot assisted lung volume reduction for emphysema.  Dr. Malthaner is currently the only clinician worldwide to have used 3D ultrasound-guided thoracoscopic techniques to resect lung cancers, and also is a pioneer in the field of thoracic telementoring. He is a recipient of research grants from the Ontario Thoracic Society, London Health Sciences Centre, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund and the Canadian Institute of Health Research.

Published Research Articles


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