National Research Council Canada-NRC

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Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro)

Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro)

September 15, 2010 14:15 ET

Minister Goodyear Opens New Surgery Training Centre in Montreal

Government of Canada and McGill University investment revolutionizes surgical training, allows life-saving dry runs

MONTRÉAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 15, 2010) - Surgeons across Canada will soon have a new tool that will lead to better outcomes for patients undergoing brain surgery. The Hon. Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, was at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) of McGill University to open one of seven new virtual reality neurosurgery training centres that will be set up across the country.

"Our government is investing in science and technology to create jobs, improve Canadians' quality of life, and strengthen the economy," said Minister Goodyear. "This new centre will help doctors refine surgical techniques. It will reinforce Montréal's status as a world-leading centre for medical research and provide opportunities to export made-in-Canada technology to hospitals worldwide."

The new Neurosurgical Simulation Centre will accelerate medical training, and allow surgeons to hone their skills and improve patient care by practicing procedures on a virtual brain. The Centre features world-leading technology developed by the National Research Council that was developed in collaboration with surgeons at The Neuro.

Building on last year's world-first brain surgery simulation at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax, this virtual reality technology is a significant leap forward in patient care and safety. High-definition haptic hardware allows neurosurgeons to touch and move parts of a simulation of a patient's brain. 

"The Neuro is the first neurosurgical centre in the world to have a bimanual simulator. We pride ourselves in providing the most innovative initiatives for advancing medical training and improving patient care," said Dr. David Colman, Director of The Neuro. "Establishing the new centre reinforces The Neuro's commitment to adopting and developing novel technologies and systems to advance neuroscience and provide our patients with the best care possible."

"Neurosurgical oncology is evolving towards less invasive yet more complex procedures that require elaborate rehearsal," said Dr. Rolando Del Maestro, Director of the Brain Tumour Research Centre at The Neuro. "The expertise and technologies developed at The Neurosurgical Simulation Centre will be invaluable, providing neurosurgeons and residents a solid foundation for rehearsing surgical procedures."

"This new centre at The Neuro fits beautifully into our blueprint for 21st-century medicine," added the Hon. Arthur T. Porter, Director General and CEO of the MUHC. "The clinical adoption of virtual-reality simulation will not only revolutionize how the next generation of neurosurgeons is trained but will also accelerate the adoption of innovative surgical techniques and reduce brain surgery risks, thus improving the quality and safety of the care we provide."

The new facility at The Neuro is now fully operational and is currently used by resident neurosurgeons from across Montréal. The other Canadian sites for this technology are Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, London, Winnipeg and Calgary.

As training is increasingly moved outside of operating theatres, virtual training will also streamline the use of valuable operating room time. The new training centres will provide researchers from the National Research Council with feedback from teaching hospitals and neurosurgeons to further improve the effectiveness of the simulator.

About NRC

The National Research Council ( works hand in hand with partners from industry, government and universities to help ignite the spark of innovation in communities across the land and to give Canadian companies a competitive edge in today's marketplace.

About the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital

The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital — The Neuro, is a unique academic medical centre dedicated to neuroscience. The Neuro is a research and teaching institute of McGill University and forms the basis for the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. Founded in 1934 by the renowned Dr. Wilder Penfield, The Neuro is recognized internationally for integrating research, compassionate patient care and advanced training, all key to advances in science and medicine. Neuro researchers are world leaders in cellular and molecular neuroscience, brain imaging, cognitive neuroscience and the study and treatment of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and neuromuscular disorders. The Montreal Neurological Institute was named as one of the Seven Centres of Excellence in Budget 2007, which provided the MNI with $15 million in funding to support its research and commercialization activities related to neurological disease and neuroscience. For more information, please visit

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