SmartTarget is a novel device to put information about tumour location from medical imaging at the centre of the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer

Principal investigator at LSHTM: Jan van der Meulen
Co-Investigators: Alec MinersSarah Willis
Collaborators: Division of Surgery and Interventional Science at UCL, UCLH NHS Foundation TrustCentre for Medical Image Computing (CMIC) at UCL
Funder: Health Innovation Challenge Fund (jointly funded by the Wellcome Trust and Department of Health)

The SmartTarget system will exploit multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI), which can detect clinically important cancers, and translate information on cancer location, size and shape automatically into the surgical setting so that it can be used to direct and guide prostate biopsy and new minimally-invasive cancer treatments. The system will achieve this by presenting the doctor with a picture that combines information from mpMRI with information from real-time ultrasound images. This will allow the doctor to identify and target the cancer on a computer screen in a similar way to a fighter pilot presented with a target on a head-up display.

Anticipated benefits of this technology include fewer prostate biopsies and more accurate diagnosis of significant cancer, but to do so will require a paradigm shift in the way prostate cancer is currently diagnosed and treated.

Our task is to conduct an economic evaluation that will capture the anticipated health benefits given the best available clinical evidence and likely associated costs in order to judge whether SmartTarget has the potential to be cost-effective for the NHS. We are also conducting informal expert interviews to determine the potential system-level impact of reconfiguring care pathways, with the intention of taking a wider perspective in the economic analysis.

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