Brain Surgery Solution Brings Canadian High Tech Company Life Science Award

By: Lee Rickwood

December 16, 2016

A quick quiz to test your brain power:

High resolution imaging and automatic positioning systems are important components of:

-Google-type mapping programs

-A new dating app

-Surgical planning and patient recovery

You’d be right if you picked any of the answers, but for someone suffering from brain injury or cognitive disruption due to a tumour, coming up with any answer at all can be a real challenge.

Every day, more than two dozen Canadians get a brain tumour diagnosis. There are over 120 different kinds of brain tumours, so identifying and finding the best treatment can be difficult for physicians and overwhelming for patients and their families, knowing that a tumour’s physical location in the brain may have profound impact upon the patient’s quality of life after surgery.

Brain Surgery Solution Brings Canadian High Tech Company Life Science Award

When located in our control centre for thought, emotion and movement, tumours can negatively impact an individual’s physical and cognitive abilities; speaking or walking can be an insurmountable challenge.

So that’s where the high resolution imaging and automatic positioning systems come in.

To give physicians the information they need to get the best possible outcomes for their patients, a Toronto-based company has developed a high-tech surgical planning platform that combines navigation, visualization and informatics tools in an integrated system that’s used before, during and after surgery.

It has high resolution imaging capabilities that let surgeons visualize important clinical details that can’t be seen with the naked eye or a standard MRI.

Those medical signposts are updated in real time as a doctor uses his or her surgical tools on – and in – the patient.

The system is called BrightMatter, and the Toronto-based company that develops it, Synaptive Medical Inc., has been named Ontario’s Life Science Company of the Year for its efforts.

The company’s in-house team of scientists, engineers and locally-based customer care specialists has been collaborating with clinicians and health care providers across the country to bring new visualization technologies to the operating room.

The first Canadian hospital to install the BrightMatter technology is Vancouver General Hospital, where the advancements in visualization are being used to plan complex brain surgery.

“As a Canadian company proudly headquartered in Toronto, having our first Canadian clinical partner is a huge milestone,” said Cameron Piron, Synaptive’s co-founder and president, noting that many Canadian surgeons and researchers have helped in the product’s development, but Vancouver is the first location where the technology is available to Canadian patients.

Using an imaging method called diffusion tensor imaging, or DTI, BrightMatter helps visualize MRI images of the entire brain’s pathways, allowing physicians to consider approaches for navigating around critical brain structures in neurological surgery.

This additional information may allow access to brain locations previously deemed inoperable.

Brain Surgery Solution Brings Canadian High Tech Company Life Science Award

Synaptive Medical is a medical device and technology company working with advanced visualization, surgical planning and informatics platforms. High resolution imaging and automatic positioning systems are important tools in the OR.

“Some tumours are inoperable because of their location in the brain and their impact on motor, language and other key functions,” said Dr. Brian Toyota, head of Neurosurgery for Vancouver General Hospital. “With BrightMatter’s planning and advanced visualization capabilities, we hope to provide additional treatment options to patients to improve their quality of life and longevity.”

BrightMatter generates a three-dimensional map of the patient’s brain, giving surgeons new visual capabilities when planning the route to a tumour that helps them avoid the key regions of the brain where any disruption can reduce cognitive capabilities or motor control.

It has an integrated camera and automatic positioning system that can follow the physician’s tools, showing the patient’s anatomy with unprecedented detail, while also showing a global view of the surgical field. Rather than the surgeon having to manipulate an optical system, the robotics free the surgeon for more patient-centric surgical treatment.

Synaptive Medical is pushing its OR solution even further, based on its acquisition of imaging informatics solutions provider ClearCanvas last year. By combining state-of-the-art imaging, surgical planning and navigation, and automated positioning of high definition optics with the power of transformative data analysis, there’s a real chance to have a powerful and positive impact on the continuum of care for patients.

“This is really just the beginning of where we want to go with imaging informatics,” Cameron Piron said, describing a standardized approach to capturing data on a health informatics platform that performs analytics at a large scale, while ensuring patient privacy.

Life Sciences Ontario (LSO) will hold its Annual Awards Gala on March 1, 2017 at Toronto’s Liberty Grand.



Brain Surgery Solution Brings Canadian High Tech Company Life Science Award








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