Kitware Awarded Funding for Robot-Assisted Prostate Surgery Research

October 17, 2011

Kitware has been awarded Phase I SBIR funding from NIBIB through a unique joint agency initiative of The National Institutes of Health (NIH), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Homeland Security. The initial Phase I funding will be used to create an augmented reality visualization prototype that will improve the efficacy and safety of robot-assisted prostate surgery.

Kitware will develop a human/machine collaborative system (HMCS) that provides surgeons with an augmented reality (AR) view that fuses a pre-operative MRI model of the prostate, tumor and surrounding tissues with the da Vinci system laparoscopic video, while compensating for non-rigid prostate tissue deformation using intra-operative transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) imaging. Adding an AR system with intra-operatively updated anatomical models to the robotic system will allow the surgeon to perceive the multimodality information more effectively and thereby perform the prostatectomy with improved accuracy.

Surgeons traditionally rely heavily on visual cues and tactile feedback when performing open surgery. However, this ability is reduced when performing laparoscopic surgery, forcing surgeons to use input from video monitors and medical images to help them understand underlying anatomies. The resulting difficulties have created a clinical need for more accurate and reliable surgical guidance.

“Our goal is to better equip surgeons during robot-assisted prostate surgery by improving their ability to visualize the prostate and surrounding critical anatomy,” said Andinet Enquobahrie,  Principal Investigator on this project. “This will lead to more accurate and reliable guidance and better surgical outcomes. We are excited to partner on this project with the Center for Computer Integrated Surgical Systems and Technology (CISST ERC) at Johns Hopkins University and Blue Torch Medical Technologies.”

The collaboration on this project brings together a strong team poised to make a significant impact in laparoscopic surgery. With the development of this innovative navigation system, the team will address some of the most pressing challenges surgeons face. Surgeons will be able to pinpoint specific prostate regions for more in-depth analysis, resulting in safer, more effective surgery and improved prognoses for the quarter-of-a-million men in the United States who will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2011.

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