CHARLOTTE, N.C. and LONDON, April 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- SonaCare Medical, a global leader in minimally invasive High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) technologies, and UCL Business PLC (UCLB), a leading technology transfer company that supports and commercializes research and innovations from UCL (University College London), today announced a partnership to integrate SmartTarget image registration and fusion software into SonaCare Medical's innovative HIFU systems. " SmartTarget software technology combines advanced soft-tissue modeling and multimodal image registration techniques to compensate for prostate deformation and provide a clinically practical solution to MR-ultrasound fusion for high-accuracy targeted therapy," said Dean Barratt, PhD, Senior Lecturer at the UCL Centre for Medical Image Computing. "Working with SonaCare Medical is an important development since it provides an exciting opportunity to rapidly integrate SmartTarget into a market-leading commercial product, Sonablate ®500, and leverage UCL's clinical expertise in tissue-preserving focal HIFU therapy." Enabling image-guided targeting of prostate tumors, SmartTarget combines and displays diagnostic information from ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and previous biopsies to enable targeted prostate biopsy and treatment. SmartTarget is based on breakthrough image analysis algorithms developed at the UCL Centre for Medical Image Computing and has undergone extensive clinical evaluation as part of clinical research studies led by Professor Mark Emberton, MD, Professor of Interventional Oncology and Director of the Division of Surgery and Interventional Science at UCL. More than 40 prostate cancer patients have been successfully treated using Sonablate500 with the aid of SmartTarget as part of the INDEX Trial. The system is also used within other UCL-led clinical trials that focus on targeted prostate biopsy. "While tissue preserving strategies have been used successfully in other solid organ cancers, adoption in prostate cancer has been hampered by limitations in diagnosing and localizing clinically significant prostate cancers," said Mark Carol, M.D., Chief Development Officer for SonaCare Medical. "Designed to enable targeted treatment of clinically significant prostate cancers and to reduce treatment-related side effects, the development of SmartTarget image registration and fusion technology is a tremendous breakthrough that may truly transform prostate cancer care." The SmartTarget project, led by Dr. Barratt and Professor Emberton, and funded by the UK Department of Health and Wellcome Trust's Health Innovation Challenge Fund, focuses on translating technology which combines state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging with advanced image guidance technology to provide doctors with information on cancer location, size and shape automatically so that it can be used to direct and guide prostate biopsy and minimally-invasive cancer treatments. In particular, the SmartTarget system exploits MRI, which can detect and characterize clinically important cancers very accurately. Published results from UCL demonstrate that MRI-US registration can localize lesions on the Sonablate500 system without interfering with the standard surgical workflow. This not only has potential for improved accuracy of focal treatments, but may also improve diagnostic sampling strategies for prostate cancer. According to UCL researchers, fewer, and better, biopsies could be performed on suspicious lesions seen on pre-biopsy, with potentially increased diagnostic rates of clinically significant cancer, and reduced rates for over-diagnosis of clinically insignificant disease. "Over the past five years, UCL has performed pioneering research in image registration and fusion technology that has led to significant advances in the clinical validation and adoption of focal HIFU," said Mike Klein, CEO for SonaCare Medical. "We are proud to work together to expand access to targeted treatment for prostate cancer through the integration of SmartTarget software into SonaCare Medical's HIFU industry-leading HIFU systems." About UCL Business PLC UCLB is a leading technology transfer company that supports and commercialises research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK's top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL's associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market.