Signifant funding for smart & cheaper medical devices
Jenny Dankelman, full professor of minimally invasive surgery and interventional techniques, and Tim Horeman, assistant professor of sustainable surgery at the Department of BioMechanical Engineering, will receive significant funding from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research and the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (NWO/ZonMw) for their research initiative entitled ‘SMART Surgical system: High-quality medical devices making minimally invasive surgery applicable to low-resource settings’. The focus of this research is to develop affordable and innovative instruments for minimally invasive surgery (MIC), so that MIC becomes available in hospitals in developing countries. The use of these systems could make MIC cheaper, safer and easier to perform, and could also make it possible to carry out these procedures without the need of a sterile operating room. Dankelman and Horeman are conducting this research together with Prashant Jha from the School of International Biodesign from AIIMS and IIT Delhi and his Indian partners from the operation theatre and the Department of Community Medicine of AIIMS Delhi.
The aim of this research is to develop, validate and implement a ‘surgical package’ for laparoscopic sterilisation. The package consists of a ‘low-tech’ laparoscope with a video system and a portable CO2 supply to insufflate the abdomen and a set of steerable SATA instruments such as a clip applier (instrument for placing clamps around vessels), small scissors and a gripper for manipulating tissue. All of these instruments are used in a so-called MSIS trocar, which shields the instrument and the incisions in the abdomen at all times from the environment so that they remain ‘sterile’. The Indian partners in this research are focusing on how to use the knowledge of local surgeons in the development process and validate the instruments in the clinical field.
The funding is being granted by ZonMw in the Medical Devices for an Affordable Health programme of NWO and DPT from India. This programme funds health research and encourages the use of the knowledge that is developed in order to subsequently improve care and health. Dankelman and Horeman’s initiative is one of three projects receiving funding out of a total of 25 grant applications. The grant budget will fund two PhDs, two postdocs and support staff in both the Netherlands and India.