OCE-SOSCIP Smart Computing R&D Challenge

Project Title

Fast and accurate biophotonic simulations for personalized Photodynamic Cancer Therapy


Vaughn Betz, University of Toronto
Dr. Lothar Lilge, Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network

Industry partners

IBM Canada Ltd., Theralase Technologies Inc.

Supported by


Read about the OCE-SOSCIP Smart Computing R&D Challenge >

Digital Media Health

Professor Vaughn Betz and his team, which includes researchers at Princess Margaret Hospital, IBM and Theralase Technologies Inc., a small Toronto-based company that delivers cold laser technologies for health applications, have joined forces to build a very fast and accurate simulator of where light inserted with fiber optic probes travels within a patient’s body. One of the most promising applications of this technology is the delivery of photodynamic therapy (PDT) for cancer treatment. PDT involves the injection of non-toxic drugs, which are harmless until activated by light of a certain wavelength. By shining that wavelength of light directly on a cancerous tumour, the tumour can be destroyed with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue and with fewer side effects and less cost than radiation therapy or surgery. The research team is using SOSCIP’s Agile Computing platform to build a simulator of how hundreds of millions of photons of light pass through the human body to help surgeons quickly and accurately determine the most effective placement of light probes to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.

Click here to read more about the Smart Computing R&D Challenge.