by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | March 28, 2022
Quantum Surgical has scored FDA clearance for its Epione robot, which is designed to perform minimally invasive liver cancer treatment.
The robotic-assisted system plans, targets, delivers and confirms the results of percutaneous tumor ablation, a procedure that entails inserting a needle through the skin of the tumor to destroy it. With its nod from the FDA, Quantum Surgical can sell its solution to U.S. providers who can use it to treat early-stage liver disease, which affects more than three million people annually worldwide and is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths.
While proven through research to be effective, the treatment is underutilized, company co-founder and CTO Lucien Blondel, told HCB News. "Radiologists are challenged by limitations in current imaging and lack of tools for ablation treatment planning and confirmation. Additional challenges include navigating critical structures, managing patient respiration and placing multiple needles to ensure adequate treatment margins of the tumor. We believe robotics combined with advanced preplanning and confirmation software will expand access and adoption of this critical therapy for the treatment of liver cancer."
Percutaneous tumor ablation is a proven therapy that is underutilized today, and Epione will allow expansion of this minimally invasive treatment to more patients battling liver cancer,” said Nishita Kothary, a professor of radiology at Stanford University Medical Center, in a statement.
In any procedure, Epione starts by defining tumor margins, selecting ablation modalities and using 2D/3D image fusion software to visualize the ablation zone. It offers six degrees of freedom and dexterity to assess difficult trajectories when targeting abdominal tumors. It also synchronizes respiratory monitors and places the ablation probe in a safety lock needle guide before it delivers treatment. Among the ablative technologies that surgeons can use with Epione are radiofrequency, microwave, cryoablation and irreversible electroporation.
Following treatment, a post-op CT is taken and compared with pre-op images to confirm results. Tumor volume is compared to the ablation zone to determine if the procedure was successful. The open solution is compatible with any imaging system, and clinical data from France’s Gustave Roussy Cancer Center and Montpellier University Hospital supports treatment with the system for primary and secondary liver tumors.