Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer, is the fifth most commonly diagnosed malignancy and the third most frequent cause of cancer related deaths worldwide. Incidence is particularly high in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa due to the large incidence of hepatitis B and C on those continents. Both hepatitis B and C are complicated by cirrhosis of the liver, which is the greatest risk factor for HCC. Recently, several Western countries have been reporting increasing trends in HCC. Perfint Healthcare in India was looking for an ultrasound-based solution to liver cancer treatment.
Need or Opportunity:
Minimally invasive percutaneous techniques, such as radio-frequency (RF) and microwave (MW) ablation of malignant tissue in the liver is a rapidly expanding research field and treatment tool for patients who are not candidates for surgical resection or transplant. In some cases this acts as a bridge to liver transplantation. Due to low complication rates, faster recovery times and reported survival rates comparable to resection, the indications for these minimally invasive procedures are continually increasing. However, these methods have a higher local recurrence rate than surgical resection, mostly due to insufficient or inaccurate local ablation of cancerous cells due to the limitations of conventional ultrasound image-guidance.
CIMTEC’s work on a 3D ultrasound-guided focal liver tumour ablation system has been addressing the limitations of conventional 2D ultrasound imaging, the most commonly used modality for guiding and monitoring radio-frequency ablation (RFA) and microwave ablation (MWA) of liver tumours. The new system, based on 3D ultrasound imaging, will increase the accuracy of identifying and localizing a tumour and reduce, perhaps even eliminate the need for intra-operative CT imaging.
The big advantage is that highly accurate ablations can be performed in a procedure suite, as opposed to a CT scanner, making them more accessible, faster and much cheaper. CIMTEC partnered with Claron Technology(Lexmark), a medical imaging software development company in Toronto, that was acquired by Lexmark in January 2015. Following the acquistion CIMTEC continued to work with Perfint and ClaroNav, a medical device hardware and software company specializing in surgical navigation products, in the design and development of this oncology therapy system. CIMTEC designed and manufactured the innovative robotic system and developed four “plug-in” modules that perform specific tasks, which are assessed and manipulated by the clinician in real time. Following a successful trial and approval from the relevant regulatory agencies, the device will be made available to hospitals performing liver ablation procedures. With this new technology, patients in developing and developed countries suffering from liver cancers will receive treatment with an accurate and cost-effective technique.