Medical imaging on a small scale

Medical imaging on a small scale

A micro-ultrasound device developed at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Research Institute garners worldwide attention
November 20, 2012

An ultrasound device designed to provide non-invasive real-time images of laboratory mice with near-microscopic resolution is poised to be adapted for use on human patients. Developed by Stuart Foster, who is working at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Research Institute to create next generation imaging technology, the micro-ultrasound is invaluable to research scientists in Canada and around the world who study embryonic development, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Since 2000, approximately 800 micro-ultrasound units have been sold by VisualSonics, a company Foster created to commercialize the technology. Drawing on engineering, sales and marketing expertise in the Greater Toronto Area, the company has grown to employ more than 100 people. It manufactures the ultrasound device at a location on Toronto’s Yonge Street, and has recently expanded to a facility in Markham, Ont.

The company’s success has attracted the attention of major players in the international medical imaging field. SonoSite/Fujifilm recently acquired VisualSonics to prepare the micro-ultrasound for clinical use in neonatology, anesthesiology and other applications, generating a new market for Foster’s invention.