In Strasbourg, France, the Business Engineering and Surgical Techniques (BEST) Innovation Symposium was recently held at IRCAD. The symposium featured engineering, business, and medical students, and faculty from all over the world who were brought together to work on key challenges in the medical industry. This multi-disciplinary event exposed people in each of these disciplines to surgical techniques, medtech innovation, and technology development. In addition, students and experts encouraged to share their research, clinical, and entrepreneurial experiences. Here are a few highlights:
Real-time laparoscopic fluorescence-based enhanced reality (FLER)
Intra-operative real-time visualization of perfusion has previously utilized static imaging requiring specialized equipment that considers flourescene intensity and not diffusion of these fluorophores over time. Flourescene intensity has several clinical and practical limitations that have prevented its widespread adoption. Research presented demonstrated the use of a nearinfrared endoscope combined with indocyanine green (ICG) to detect bowel perfusion at anastomosis sites using a suite of software developed at IRCAD, called ER-PERFUSION, which generates dynamic perfusion cartograms superimposed on real-time laparoscopic images. This technology has been designed to aid clinicians in intra-operative detection of poorly perfused bowel anastomoses. Porcine studies are ongoing with the ultimate goal of translation into clinical practice. (Reference)
Robotic MRI-compatible biopsy technology
Vincent Groenhuis, mentored by Stefano Stramigioli, presented his work on a technology that leverages a novel five degree of freedom pneumatic positioning system designed to improve the accuracy and efficiency of MRI-navigated breast biopsy. Approximately 13.8% of MRI-guided breast biopsies are initially missed, ultimately, requiring additional biopsies and in some instances false negative results. In addition, MRI-guided biopsies are time consuming and uncomfortable for patients. These inherent challenges were the impetus for development of this system. In order to meet the technical requirements required, novel pneumatic stepper motors were developed to accurately position and actuate the biopsy needle. This is certainly early development research, however, demonstrates significant progress in improving breast cancer care. (Reference)
Keynote speakers included Thomas Krummel, MD the Emile Holman Professor from Stanford University and serial entrepreneur, Fred Moll, MD the founder of Hansen Medical and cofounder of Intuitive Surgical, and Mark Blumenkranz, MD the H.J. Smead Professor of Ophthalmology at the Byers Eye Institute at Stanford University and serial entrepreneur. These are just a few of the many innovations that were presented.