Surgical Robotics Lab wins big at Pioneers in Healthcare (PIHC) Awards

Dr. Heunis and Dr. Sikorski awarded PIHC grants

  • Published on January 25th, 2022

Two projects from Surgical Robotics Lab (SRL) were awarded grants from the Pioneers in HealthCare (PIHC) innovation fund at an online ceremony on 24 January 2022. The PIHC Innovation Fund aims to facilitate the introduction of innovative technology into the clinic. The proposals, worth 60000€ each, were submitted in collaboration with clinicians from Medisch Spectrum Twente and Ziekenhuis Groep Twente. They will further strengthen the translational aspect of the research within SRL, bringing our pioneering technology further towards clinical practice.

1. HIRAM – Hybrid Interventions using Robotically-Actuated Magnets

Main Applicant: Dr. ir. Christoff Heunis (UT)
Co-applicants: Prof. Dr. Sarthak Misra (UT), Prof. Dr. Bob Geelkerken (MST), Dr. Theo Menting (MST), Dr. Rombout Kruse (ZGT), Mr. Bryan Wermelink (UT)

Minimally-invasive magnetic surgeries have been a prominent emerging technological alternative to open surgeries in the search to reduce patient trauma and recovery time. HIRAM will take the principles of magnetic surgery established at SRL to the hospitals inside the Netherlands. It will encompass the assessment of the feasibility of a novel surgical tool. The tool will be tested within a hybrid operating theatre during pre-clinical trials that involve the treatment of progressive atherosclerosis. These trials will be conducted at Medisch Spectrum Twente and Ziekenhuis Groep Twente in 2022.

2. ICECReAM – Infrastructure for Cardiovascular trEatment using Clinically-Relevant Applied Microrobotics

Main Applicant: Dr. Jakub Sikorski (UT)
Co-applicants: Prof. Dr. Sarthak Misra (UT), Dr. Roland Beuk (MST), Dr. Ir. Jeroen Rouwkema (UT), Mr. Vasileios Trikalitis (UT)

Challenges associated with the treatment of vascular diseases can be overcome using microrobotic agents, leading to safer and more effective therapy. Nevertheless, no infrastructure for clinical deployment of microrobots exists. The goal of ICECReAM is to create a catheter employing localized magnetic actuation for non-contact treatment of unstable atherosclerotic plaque using functionalized microparticles. This way, the stabilization of plaque will be achieved without the risks of cerebrovascular incidents, associated with current state-of-the-art treatment. The technology developed in ICECReAM will open up a realistic route towards clinical use of microrobotic agents, setting up a foundation for numerous novel treatment protocols.