University of Toronto researchers are helping an Ontario-based medical device company improve the effectiveness of light-activated chemotherapy through the use of IBM's supercomputer.



Ontario Canada

Ontario-based company finds way to improve effectiveness of light activated chemotherapy

Vaughn Betz
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto

I’m Vaughn Betz, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto.

One of the applications that I've been working on for several years is a medical collaboration where we're working to make a form of light activated chemotherapy more effective make it suitable for a wider range of cancers.

Theralase Technologies is a Toronto-based medical device manufacturer. They are making medical lasers and they also make a light activated drug. We're also working with IBM. Who are clearly experts in computers.

We're using a very advanced computer infrastructure that will be difficult for us to set up and to maintain on our own. So SOSCIP has provided that for us. OCE has provided research funding for us to hire graduate students who you know really are the ones who get in there and do the detailed research.

We're using advanced computation, those special kinds of computer chips, to rapidly simulate what's going to happen if we place light probes in a certain place in a patient's body.

And by the time we go to treat the patient we really know in advance what's going to happen.

It makes me feel good to not just work on making better computers but applying that to situations that can affect people's lives. And I think Ontario is really uniquely positioned to have that just due to that diverse talent base.

We have a huge number of world class researchers and capabilities right in a small footprint around the University of Toronto and the world's leading research hospitals we have in downtown Toronto.

It's allowed me to broaden my research to into areas that have a large impact on the health of our population that's been very gratifying and something I could not have done on my own.



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