St. Joe’s partners with MOLLI Surgical to treat breast cancer patient with new surgical technology

By October 13, 2022 October 28th, 2022 Newsroom

MOLLI® now used exclusively due to its improved patient experience.

A 74-year-old Hamiltonian is one of the first breast cancer patients at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton to be treated with a new technology that pinpoints cancer’s precise location.

In the past, St. Joe’s radiologists would insert a low-dose radioactive marker or a small wire into the abnormal tissue of breast cancer patients. These interventions can be uncomfortable and there may be anxiety due to the use of a radioactive marker. But now, the MOLLI Marker® — the size of a sesame seed — is implanted to mark a patient’s lesion, eliminating safety concerns from radiation and creating a more comfortable experience.

This new technique allows St. Joe’s surgeon Dr. Peter Lovrics to create a smaller incision and better target the cancer cells. Since May 2022, MOLLI® has been used for all localization procedures by St. Joe’s due to its ease of use and improved experiences for doctors and patients.

“MOLLI is improving the breast cancer treatment experience for both patients and clinicians,” said Dr. Lovrics. “Because it is more advanced at localizing cancers, people with breast cancer can feel more at ease knowing that their surgery will be easier, faster and more precise. We hope to introduce MOLLI throughout the region as a way of moving past radioactive seed technology, and incorporate its use into other soft-tissue cancer treatment.”

The 74-year-old patient, Angela Alexander-Roper, credits her swift recovery, virtual absence of pain, small bruise and a tiny upside-down smile scar to MOLLI.

“Finding the lump was one of the most frightening things I’ve experienced. I’m very grateful to anybody who had any part in creating the seed and making it accessible for people with breast cancer,” she said. “It went directly in; Dr. Lovrics was able to cut the tissue and get all the margins. He was even able to tell my husband straight away that they had got it all. Afterward, Dr. Lovrics told me, ‘Go ahead, live your life!’ and it was all because of that little marker.”

After a short but frightening experience facing cancer for the first time, Angela is now looking forward to continuing spending time with her four children and 13 grandchildren, and going on holiday with her husband in October.

“St. Joe’s is committed to building a breast diagnostic centre of excellence,” said Dr. Lovrics. “With the help of our technology partners like MOLLI Surgical and others, and the support of our community, we’ll be able to improve outcomes for the patients we serve.”

MOLLI Surgical’s Health Canada approved and FDA-cleared MOLLI features the smallest localization marker on the market that can be used with all soft tissues. MOLLI Surgical is looking forward to applying the benefits of this technology beyond breast disease. The MOLLI Wand® detects the MOLLI Marker — much like a GPS — helping surgeons pinpoint lesions more efficiently and with improved accuracy, translating into better surgical options and an improved experience for all before, during and after surgery.

“MOLLI has significantly decreased stress in our patients,” said Dr. Colm Boylan, Chief of Diagnostic Imaging at St. Joe’s. “The process is simpler, more efficient and requires fewer staff to be present, which creates a calm environment. We know that many patients with radioactive markers experienced anxiety due to risks of radiation emissions. They often avoided contact with family, whom they need for support. MOLLI is a tremendous advancement for treating one of the most common cancers affecting Canadians.”

Right now, the hospital is working with St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation to actively raise funds for vital medical equipment that will create a one-stop centre of excellence that supports patients with breast cancer every step of the way — from diagnosis to treatment to recovery and remission. Funds raised will help purchase essential technology, including Contrast Enhanced Mammography and MRI Breast Coils, to enhance the detection of breast cancer more definitively and at its earliest stages so that patients like Angela will get the answers they need sooner, and have the best possible health outcome.


“We are excited to partner with St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, an academic hospital with a well-known culture of innovation, whether in their deep experience treating patients with breast disease or their dedication to surgical innovation. We are so pleased to hear that future surgeons find MOLLI® so intuitive, so easy to use and accurate, that trainees have mastered its use very quickly.”
Ananth Ravi, PhD
President and CEO of MOLLI Surgical Inc.

“St. Joe’s has earned a national reputation for outstanding patient care and innovative medical and surgical treatments. MOLLI® is a great fit for us as we switch away from radioactive seed technology, because it makes precision surgery simpler. We’re also leaders in bringing innovation and best practices out to our whole community of hospitals so no matter where a patient lives in the Hamilton-Niagara Region — in an urban or rural area — they have access to the latest and best treatments, outcomes, and experience. With the right partnerships and the right technology, we can do great things for patients.”
Rick Badzioch
Vice President, Clinical Programs, St. Joe’s

About St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton:
St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton (SJHH) is a leading research and academic health science centre located in the heart of Hamilton, Ontario. The Hospital is particularly well known for excellence in virtual care, mental health and addictions, respiratory care, kidney and urinary care, robotic surgical services, cancer surgery and women’s and infants’ care. The hospital’s threefold mission is to provide dynamic research, revolutionary methods in health sciences education, and the highest standard of clinical care in a spirit of compassion and innovation. SJHH is a member of the St. Joseph’s Health System, working in close partnership with St. Joseph’s Villa Dundas for long-term care, and St. Joseph’s Home Care. You can connect with SJHH on TwitterLinkedInFacebook, or Instagram.

About MOLLI Surgical:
MOLLI Surgical started in the operating room, where surgeons were using dated tools to treat cancer patients — and we knew we could do better. Our surgical wand is precise, easy-to-use and built with the realities of the operating room in mind. More importantly, it is built with patients in mind. Our technology replaces procedures to mark lesions with one that is more precise, efficient and cost-effective. MOLLI Surgical is proud to build the advanced equipment that patients prefer to have and that physicians prefer to use. Follow us on FacebookLinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.