Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Biomedical Engineering


Dr. Aaron Fenster


The most common diagnosis of prostate cancer is that of localized disease, and unfortunately the optimal type of treatment for these men is not yet certain. Magnetic resonance image (MRI)-guided focal laser ablation (FLA) therapy is a promising potential treatment option for select men with localized prostate cancer, and may result in fewer side effects than whole-gland therapies, while still achieving oncologic control. The objective of this thesis was to develop methods of accurately guiding needles to the prostate within the bore of a clinical MRI scanner for MRI-guided FLA therapy.

To achieve this goal, a mechatronic needle guidance system was developed. The system enables precise targeting of prostate tumours through angulated trajectories and insertion of needles with the patient in the bore of a clinical MRI scanner. After confirming sufficient accuracy in phantoms, and good MRI-compatibility, the system was used to guide needles for MRI-guided FLA therapy in eight patients. Results from this case series demonstrated an improvement in needle guidance time and ease of needle delivery compared to conventional approaches. Methods of more reliable treatment planning were sought, leading to the development of a systematic treatment planning method, and Monte Carlo simulations of needle placement uncertainty. The result was an estimate of the maximum size of focal target that can be confidently ablated using the mechatronic needle guidance system, leading to better guidelines for patient eligibility. These results also quantified the benefit that could be gained with improved techniques for needle guidance.