November 16, 2015

Movember is here and people around the world are turning their attention towards prostate cancer for the month. Additionally, there are some Toronto based companies that have been focusing their attention year round on creating innovative technology based solutions to improve prostate cancer diagnosis and outcomes.

One local company focusing on prostate health is Focal Healthcare. They have developed a medical device to improve prostate cancer diagnosis. By taking advantage of MRI imaging, doctors are able to take targeted biopsy samples directly from suspected cancer regions within the prostate gland. This method of taking targeted biopsy samples (“fusion biopsy”) significantly improves cancer detection. A recent study found that fusion biopsy can detect 30% more high-risk cancer than standard biopsies.

We are committed to improving the lives
of prostate cancer patients and their
families by producing world-class medical
Chicuong La, PhD, JD – CEO, Focal Healthcare

Men with high PSA levels or abnormalities during a DRE (digital rectal exam) are urged to go for a biopsy for diagnosis. Unfortunately, during a standard biopsy cancerous tissue is difficult to see with ultrasound alone thus samples are taken randomly throughout the prostate. As a result, prostate cancer is often missed. It is estimated that false negative rates have been reported to be as high as 47%!

For a fusion biopsy, patients get an MRI before the biopsy, allowing the urologist to target specific areas of the prostate gland during the biopsy procedure using ultrasound coupled with the MRI. Additionally, if cancer is identified, the ability to precisely re-locate cancerous lesions improves patient monitoring and treatment options.

Focal Healthcare has managed to design, develop, build and submit for FDA approval in under 13 months! This rapid development was fueled by the fact that only a small percentage of eligible patients currently have access to a fusion biopsy procedure. To solve this problem, Focal Healthcare has built a fusion biopsy device that is accessible to all clinics – large and small, is efficient to use, and accurate.

 Relevant statistics

  • Prostate cancer is a critical issue for Canadian men: 1 in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. 12% of these men will die from the disease
  • Prostate Cancer Canada estimates that 24,000 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year making it the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among Canadian Men

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About the Author

TorontoStarts now supports over 22,000 active entrepreneurs in the GTA and has grown to the largest startup community in Canada. With a reach of over 120,000+ followers across our platforms, The Startup Coach has hosted over 700 startup events, courses and workshops and spoken in front of over 70,000 entrepreneurs. Working with startups all day every day Craig has personally coached over 600 startups, judged over 100 pitch competitions, and helped companies raise over $60 million.

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