Lassonde professor earns NSERC grant for brain tumor treatment research

Ali Sadeghi-Naini
Ali Sadeghi-Naini

Lassonde School of Engineering professor and Sunnybrook Research Institute scientist Ali Sadeghi-Naini was awarded a grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through the Collaborative Research and Development program to help undertake breakthrough research in the pursuit of developing more precise and effective brain tumour treatment for individual patients.

Ali Sadeghi-Naini
Ali Sadeghi-Naini

The focus of the research is on developing new MRI methods and smart image-analysis frameworks to improve the treatment of metastatic brain tumours by enhancing treatment planning and predicting therapy outcomes for individual cancer patients.

These efforts are being developed at an important time, as diagnoses of metastatic brain tumours continue to rise.

Sadeghi-Naini’s research program includes engineering and science-based investigations for technology development to preclinical and clinical evaluations. The Lassonde School of Engineering at York University plays a key role in supporting his efforts.

“Lassonde provides my research program with necessary lab space and core facilities for basic science investigations and technology development,” he said. “Lassonde also supports my interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research projects that facilitate the interaction of my research team at Lassonde with the other team members, including the clinicians and scientists at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre for clinical evaluation of our early-stage technologies.”

This multifaceted approach to biomedical technology research requires interdisciplinary thinking, analysis and development, and can positively alter the course of a cancer patient’s life.

“About 20 to 40 per cent of cancer patients are identified as non-responders to standard therapies months after the treatment, when it is too late to make any treatment adjustment or switch to a salvage therapy,” said Sadeghi-Naini.

Personalized cancer therapeutics is an emerging paradigm to address this issue. Tailoring standard treatments to individual patients potentially leads to better therapy outcomes, higher survival rates and improved quality of life.

Over the next three years, NSERC will provide $391,859 to the project; Elekta, the industrial partner of the project, will contribute $428,000.

Sadeghi-Naini joined York University in 2018 as an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Lassonde School of Engineering, holding a cross-appointment in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto and cross-appointed scientist positions at Sunnybrook Research Institute and Odette Cancer Centre.

The full story can be found on the Sunnybrook Research Institute website.