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Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation - CSII

$14.8 million for 2009-17
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Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation

Number of partners

Partner contributions
$26.4 million

Hamilton, Ontario

Scientific Director & CEO
Mehran Anvari Mehran Anvari

Board chair
Douglas Barber Douglas Barber,
Professor in Residence, McMaster University, Founder of Gennum

Applying Canada's expertise in space robotics to medicine

The opportunity

When it comes to space robotics, Canada is an undisputed global leader. The industry has invested over $2 billion in research and development for the past 30 years, overcoming many of the hurdles associated with automation, image guidance and manoeuvrability. On the medical front, several Canadian universities are also top ranked when it comes to developing image-guided therapies. These strengths put Canada in an excellent position to apply this same expertise to make the medical system more efficient, improve healthcare access in rural and remote areas, and improve patient outcomes by enabling more targeted, less invasive procedures.

How CSii is seizing the opportunity

The Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation combines the skill and know-how of academic staff and practising clinicians with private sector business acumen to develop and commercialize a new class of advanced image-guided robotic systems that will extend the diagnostic and interventional capabilities of surgeons, physicians, and health care professionals through increased precision and dexterity. CSii partners with Richmond, BC-based MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA), the world leader in space robotics and developers of the famous Canadarm, to test, prototype, validate and commercialize new technologies that can dramatically improve surgical results, and reduce the trauma and recovery times for patients.

Among the results

  • CSii completed development of IGAR (Image Guided Automated Robot), a generic image-guided robotics platform that will be adopted for several applications, including breast biopsies and localized cancer treatment. The system can also be operated remotely, enabling radiologists to biopsy and treat patients in remote locations.
  • The centre has successfully developed and manufactured its first clinical system – the IGAR Breast Robot – which allows real-time biopsy and therapy of suspected breast lesions in an MRI system, resulting in less pain and faster treatment. CSii is partnering with MDA to manufacture its system in Canada and with Bedford, MA-based Hologic Corp. for global sales and distribution. Commercial release is planned for 2017.
  • Through the development of a new corporate model, CSii has established a steadily increasing revenue stream (through its platforms and contract services to provincial ministries and innovative new companies) and is on track to become self-sustainable by 2021.
  • CSii’s major outreach program, “Innovation Nation,” provides students with opportunities to network with industry experts, scientists, engineers and academics. The program includes a conference on robotics as well as a competition for students.

Connect with CSII


Space-age robot making cancer biopsies more accurate
February 10, 2015
Women from Ontario and Quebec will continue to be among the world’s first to have a breast biopsy taken by a robotic surgeon that can trace its technological pedigree to the Canadarm and International Space Station. The made-in-Canada technology promises to be less time consuming and more accurate than current manual procedures and can be operated by a radiologist remotely, ensuring equal access to surgical care across all of Canada. Read more
Watch Video
Canadian Space technology helps breast cancer patients
October 1, 2014