Interventional Imaging Agent Platform to Improve the Precision of Personalized Cancer Therapies Awarded in Inaugural Call of Princess Margaret Foundation’s Innovation Accelerator Fund

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Awardees of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Innovation Accelerator Fund Announced

May 12, 2016

TORONTO, ON – Princess Margaret Foundation has announced the results of the first call of the Innovation Accelerator Fund (IAF), which was established in collaboration with UHN’s Technology Development and Commercialization department in 2015 to help investigators at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center accelerate their early-stage research discoveries towards commercialization by providing a maximum of $250,000 per proposal.

Interventional Imaging Agent Platform to Improve the Precision of Personalized Cancer Therapies

Recipients of the IAF’s first call included co-inventors Jinzi Zheng, David Jaffray, and Christine Allen.

Their work includes the development of a broad-use multimodal imaging agent for surgical planning and intraoperative guidance in solid tumor resection.  From this broad-use platform, they have developed a dual-modality CT and fluorescence nanoliposomal imaging agent aimed at improving the accuracy and outcome of cancer surgery by increasing visualization, localization and resection of small and complex tumors during surgery.  This agent is anticipated to enhance the performance of all image-guided cancer interventions such as surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Jinzi Zheng, PhD is a scientist at the Techna Institute at the University Health Network and an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto and headed the work.

The $250,000 award from the IAF will allow the team to advance this imaging agent to first-in-human trials.

Explains Zheng, “This new technology is particularly useful because it enables us to employ different imaging techniques prior to and during surgery following one injection of the imaging agent. Our preliminary results are particularly promising and suggest that this agent could be used to improve the localization, detection and removal of a wide range of cancers.”

About the University Health Network (UHN)

University Health Network consists of Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and The Michener Institute for Education at UHN. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in cardiology, transplantation, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, genomic medicine and rehabilitation medicine. University Health Network is a research hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. Visit us at Technology Development and Commercialization (TDC) is the team at the University Health Network (UHN) that facilitates the transformation of hospital research innovations into medical products that improve healthcare outcomes. Learn more at

About Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has achieved an international reputation as a global leader in the fight against cancer and delivering personalized cancer medicine. The Princess Margaret, one of the top five international cancer research centres and is a member of the University Health Network. For more information, go to

About The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation at University Health Network raises funds for one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world, the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, which includes The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute and The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research.

About Techna Institute

Techna is an institute of the University Health Network, in partnership with the University of Toronto, focused on the accelerated development and exploitation of technology for improved health. The Techna Institute is designed to shorten the time interval from technology discovery and development to application for the benefit of patients and the health care system. It will also stimulate and facilitate the innovation cycle through a continuum of clinically-driven innovation, technology & process development, and translational research.

For more information on the Innovation Accelerator fund, please see:


University Health Network (UHN)

Bharti Ranavaya, B.Sc PhD

Business Development & Commercialization Lead, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Technology Development & Commercialization (TDC)

Tel: (416) 581 7536