Torchia and Tyc, both from Winnipeg, Manitoba, founded Monteris Medical in 1999 with the sole focus of helping patients who suffer from neurological diseases. The revolutionary technology they developed – the minimally invasive NeuroBlate System, an MRI-guided, robotically controlled laser ablation surgical device – has been used in nearly 3,000 patients and in more than 80 institutions in the U.S. and Canada to ablate primary brain tumors, metastatic brain tumors, radiation effect and epileptic foci.
The SBMT presents this award to “the trailblazing companies and their CEOs/presidents who have facilitated the development of pioneering technologies through interdisciplinary approaches that have impacted diagnostics, treatment, and healthcare delivery in unprecedented ways.”
Torchia, who currently serves as vice-provost (teaching and learning) at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, said the idea for the technology came after a brain biopsy surgery he attended with a neurosurgeon. “I thought at that moment how beneficial it could be to the patient to slide a heat source down the small biopsy tract and affect some kind of change in the tumor,” said Torchia. Torchia and Tyc then began developing concepts and prototypes for laser technology use in the brain for primary tumors, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a way to monitor the heat.
Tyc, vice president of technology and advanced development at Monteris Medical, said the recognition was gratifying. “We knew then that there was tremendous potential in developing this technology,” commented Tyc. “The minimally invasive approach to the surgery and subsequent short recoveries change the game for patients that otherwise would undergo an open craniotomy or have no other option. Now, we’re looking at the technology’s next phase of development to offer hope to even more people.”
Tyc and Torchia will receive the award at the 17th Annual “Gathering for Cure” Black Tie Awards Gala of Brain Mapping Foundation, March 21 in Los Angeles.