Grant for further development of ‘Delft’ health technology

News - 18 February 2016

Various researchers at TU Delft are among the parties that have been awarded funding from Technology Foundation STW for the further development of two surgical instruments and a flexible radiotherapy facility using radioactive microspheres to treat liver cancer.

The SensOtouch Grasper (Take-off Programme, feasibility study)

Second applicant Tim Horeman from TU Delft: ‘Surgeons often perform endoscopic operations on (very young) children using instruments that were actually developed for adults. However, children have far softer tissues than adults. So the cutting force of conventional instruments means that their use in children leads to a higher risk of tissue damage. 
In this project a new package for surgeons is being developed, the PaediaPack, comprising two new unique instruments: the MediShield’s Portshield, a so-called trocar (hollow needle) fixator and the SensOtouch Grasper. This last instrument is a new and smaller grasper that limits excess cutting force and moreover offers higher sensitivity for the surgeon. 
Milton Aguirre is the main applicant; the project leader is Tim Horeman. 











Steerable meniscus cutter (Take-off Programme, early start-up phase)

Main applicant Tim Horeman (TU Delft spin-off Surge-On Medical): ‘Since the introduction of minimally invasive surgery, orthopaedic surgeons in particular experience difficulty reaching certain areas in joints. Although steerable instruments are being developed for laparoscopy (abdominal surgery), the basic technology used for this is not immediately suitable for use in arthroscopy (joint surgery).’ 
‘That’s why a project was set up in which a multidisciplinary team of doctors and engineers developed a new steering principle which they integrated into a prototype that was tested by a number of surgeons in the AMC. We are now aiming to work with several experienced surgeons throughout the Netherlands to test a first commercial version of a steerable meniscus cutter.’ Benno Groosman of Surge-On Medical is also involved in this project.





Radiotherapy facility using holmium microspheres to treat liver cancer (Open Technology Programme, OTP)

Main applicant Antonia Denkova: ‘Here in Delft we are irradiating holmium microspheres for University Medical Center Utrecht and Quirem Medical which they use to treat liver tumours. During the irradiation, gamma radiation is present and this can destroy the microspheres. Unfortunately, this means the level of radioactivity of the microspheres is limited, because if you irradiate them for too long they break.’ 
‘Together with UMC Utrecht, Quirem Medical and NRG we are conducting research into how we can make an irradiation facility that can create microspheres with a higher level of radioactivity without damaging them. A big advantage of this would be that treatment could be offered to people who live further away from Utrecht. Besides this, it makes treatment more geared to the individual patient possible. For example, a patient with a smaller liver may need to be treated with fewer microspheres, but more radioactive ones.’ 
The new flexible irradiation facility will give the researchers a better understanding of radiation damage, so that an irradiation facility can be built that produces microspheres with the desired level of radioactivity.