- Guided Therapeutics (GTx) at the Techna InstituteDr. Irish is the Clinical Lead for the Guided Therapeutics Core of the TECHNA Institute. He co-leads a multidisciplinary team comprised of scientists, physicists, surgeons and interventional radiologists. This program is dedicated toward developing and testing new imaging technologies and to develop enabling software to allow merger with real-time navigation and tracking technologies. This enables the application of new minimal access physical therapies such as laser, photodynamic therapy and high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) as well as robotic and endoscopic ablative surgery. The development of the technology occurs in the GTx-Lab in MaRS and involves a collaborative team of engineers, physicists, surgeons and radiologists. Translational clinical trial research to evaluate safety, efficacy and accuracy of the systems are carried out in the Translational Image Guided Operating Rooms (TROGORs). Clinical applications include head and neck surgery, lateral and anterior skull base surgery, lung surgery, prostate surgery, GI surgery and neurosurgery including spinal surgery.
- Population-based outcomes in head and neck cancerOur work continues to concentrate on describing patient outcomes (survival, local/regional/systemic disease control, functional outcomes) after head and neck cancer surgery. Some of this work is CIHR and NCIC funded in collaboration with Dr. Patti Groome at Queen's University. This work looks at population-based differences in practice and patient outcomes between populations. Our group has concentrated on comparing Ontario patient outcomes to the U.S.SEER population outcomes to determine and describe differences in practice and potential effects on patient outcome in cancers of the larynx and oral cavity.
- Utilization of molecular biological techniques for prediction of clinical outcomesCurrently our work in collaboration with Dr. Suzanne Kamel-Reid and Dr Fei Fei Liu is concentrating on the utilization of microarray analysis to predict patient outcome in head and neck malignancy. One project is looking at comparing the microarray profiles between 'young' patients with no risk factors for head and neck malignancy to a group of patients with risk factors. Our group is also comparing microarray instability in this young,low-risk group to the high-risk older patient group. Investigations in oral cancer and laryngeal cancer tumourigenesis is a major focus of our basic science work with the constant theme of relating molecular biological descriptors to clinical outcome parameters such as overall survival, regional disease failure rates and local disease behaviour characteristics.
- Quality of life outcome in head and neck cancerOur work collaborates with the Psychosocial Oncology group at the Princess Margaret Hospital. An NCIC-funded randomized trials is ongoing which investigates the effect of an intensive psychoeducational intervention for oral cancer patients awaiting surgery compared to a group of patients receiving 'usual care' with 6 months follow up. Quality of life outcomes in skull base malignancy, maxillofacial surgery with prosthetics and other cancer groups have been studied using validated quality of life outcome scales.
Cancer Clinical Research Unit (CCRU), Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto
Professor, Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, University of Toronto
Faculty Member, Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto
Head, Division of Head & Neck Oncology and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Toronto
Provincial Head, Surgical Oncology Program, Cancer Care Ontario