St. Joseph’s in partnership with Lawson will become Canada’s first centre of excellence in molecular imaging and theranostics


London, Ontario – In a Canadian first, St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s) and Lawson Health Research Institute (Lawson), in partnership with GE HealthCare, will become a centre of excellence in personalized treatment of cancer and other diseases by advancing the powerful blend of precision diagnostic imaging and targeted therapy.

This rapidly emerging field of medicine is called molecular imaging and theranostics (MIT). Molecular imaging provides detailed imaging at the molecular level and theranostics is a term that combines the words therapeutics and diagnostics. Together, MIT is a two-pronged approach to diagnosing and treating cancers and other diseases that merges imaging with the use of radiotracers that can not only identify the location and extent of diseased tissues but also selectively destroy the abnormal cells while leaving surrounding healthy cells undamaged. 

“The centre will confirm St. Joseph’s and the wider London medical and scientific community as national and international leaders in advancing MIT in the diagnosis of disease, for instance in the identification of cancer and its sub-types, to allow more treatment options for patients,” says Dr. Narinder Paul, Lawson Scientist, Chief, Medical Imaging at St. Joseph’s and Physician Executive, Medical Imaging at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC). “It will also allow for an expansion of scientific collaborations, increased numbers of scientific and medical learners, and access to the latest software to acquire and integrate imaging science with other patient information.”

The partnership with GE HealthCare will see St. Joseph’s become the first hospital in Canada to install the latest generation, state-of-the-art PET-CT from GE, which will be delivered to St. Joseph’s Hospital by September 2023. The new PET-CT will mean faster exams, better patient experience, more detailed images and increased accuracy in diagnosing disease at a lower dose of radiation for patients. It will also expand clinical care at St. Joseph’s by significantly enhancing research through the Imaging Research Group at Lawson, working together with researchers at LHSC, the London Regional Cancer Program, and Western University.

“We will leverage the combined scientific expertise and innovation of scientists from GE HealthCare and Lawson to maximize the future opportunities of molecular imaging theranostics made possible through PET- CT imaging and be leaders in Canada in this area of medical science,” says Dr. David Hill (D.Phil), Lawson’s Scientific Director. 

As a dedicated MIT centre of excellence, St. Joseph’s will…

•    Advance innovation and expand the science in precision imaging of disease through Lawson, and broaden the potential of PET-CT imaging
•    Develop new treatment options for patients with cancer and other diseases
•    Examine how to maximize the opportunities of digital health technologies to improve access for patients across Canada and optimize their treatment journeys 
•    Create a knowledge dissemination hub for Canada to educate and train others in the use of advanced imaging technologies, including how to organize hospital services to maximize access to patients and improve the health care system for all Canadians.

“St. Joseph’s is proud to be in partnership with GE HealthCare on this exciting opportunity to transform the care journey and outcomes for patients with cancer and other diseases, not only locally and regionally, but also nationally,” says Roy Butler (PhD), President and CEO of St. Joseph’s.  

For patients seen in London, the benefits will include expanded use of PET-CT, the ability to extract more information from their diagnostic images more rapidly and with less radiation exposure compared to current procedures, greater diagnostic and treatment accuracy, and new options for treatment, particularly for cancers that are more difficult to treat.  

“A personalized approach to medical care requires a very detailed understanding of the localization of disease and potential response to different treatment options,” says Dr. Paul who is also the Chair of Medical Imaging at Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University. “We will be able to offer patients across our region access to the latest therapeutic options based on a deeper understanding of the nature of their individual disease conditions gained through next generation medical imaging.”

At its core, theranostics is about treating each patient as an individual, “recognizing that the same treatment plan doesn’t work for everyone – with the goal of providing more efficient and effective medical care,”  adds says Mike Hamilton, President, GE HealthCare Canada. “This collaboration aims to advance this practice for the benefit of clinicians and patients around the world.”

The new PET-CT at St. Joseph’s will replace an aging machine and has been made possible in part through the generosity of donors to St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation, which is contributing $1 million to state-of-the-art machine. 

Additional details on this exciting partnership are available on St. Joseph’s website

About Lawson Health Research Institute

Lawson Health Research Institute is one of Canada’s top hospital-based research institutes, tackling the most pressing challenges in health care. As the research institute of London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London, our innovation happens where care is delivered. Lawson research teams are at the leading-edge of science with the goal of improving health and the delivery of care for patients. Working in partnership with Western University, our researchers are encouraged to pursue their curiosity, collaborate often and share their discoveries widely. Research conducted through Lawson makes a difference in the lives of patients, families and communities around the world. To learn more, visit

About St. Joseph’s Health Care London

Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic health care centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community-based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Institute; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; and the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care. 

Media Contacts
Celine Zadorsky

Communications Consultant & External Relations
Lawson Health Research Institute
T: 519-685-8500 ext. 75664
C. 519-619-3872