Simon Fraser University unveiled “the only one of its kind in Western Canada” ImageTech Lab at Surrey Memorial Hospital Tuesday.
The SFU ImageTech Lab, a world-class clinical research facility according to a news release from SFU, was unveiled by SFU and Fraser Health.
Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, SFU professor and Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation chair in multimodal technology for health care innovations, said there are two major technologies in Image Tech: high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) along and high-density magnetoencephalography (MEG).
MRI is “a medical imaging technology that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to get detailed images of our body,” reads the release. An MEG is a “non-invasive brain imaging technology that allows for real-time mapping of brain activity by measuring very small magnetic field fluctuations generated by the brain’s electrical field.”
D’Arcy said MEG is “particularly powerful at watching the brain in action.”
Having the combination of these two technologies allows us to advance patient care in ways that just simply were not possible prior to ImageTech,” D’Arcy said.
By combining the whole-body MRI with the MEG “provides state-of-the-art capabilities for the best possible windows into the brain function,” according to the press release.
He said the lab is the only one of its kind in Western Canada. D’Arcy added that there are four MEGs in Toronto, two in Montreal and one in Halifax.
“What these technologies can do is they can actually help to not only more powerfully look at the brain through MRI, but also actually find — or track — the source of the electrical storms that epilepsy is associated with and then provide that information to the treatment teams, so that they can actually come in and do really effective treatments for something like epilepsy,” D’Arcy said.
He said the technology helps to understand “the different devastating conditions that you can have for neurologic illness and for mental health.
“These sophisticated medical imaging tools will enable the region’s top health innovators to bring rapid advances in the treatment of devastating brain disorders and diseases, brain injury, brain tumours, epilepsy, autism, Down Syndrome, aging and dementia, depression, addictions, and mood disorders,” reads the news release.
The lab received funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada, Canada Foundation for Innovation and B.C. Knowledge Development Fund, as well as donations from Philips Canada, CTF MEG and a number of other individuals and organizations, according to the release.
D’Arcy said the ImageTech Lab positions B.C. and Surrey for global leadership in health technology innovation. He said the rapid growth of Surrey’s Health and Technology District is putting the city on the global stage by using health technology innovations to provide better quality of care, adding that there are “many, many people who are taking up this vision and coming up with ideas.”
“We all face wicked problems in health care, but they’re coming up with equally wicked solutions through health technology innovation and, certainly, we know that through health and technology district and what’s going on in Surrey, we are absolutely leading the globe in this particular area,” he said.