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Cluj researchers work on robot for treatment of liver tumor patients

A robot especially designed for the onco-surgical treatment of patients with liver cancer will be accomplished by a multi-disciplinary team from two Cluj-based universities, the Technical University (UTCN) and the Faculty of Medicine (UMF).

The coordinator of the IMPROVE project, Doina Pisla, Professor PhD at UTCN, stated on Monday during the launching event of the project, that this modern equipment is designed to improve the quality of the lives of patients and to provide an important support for the team of physicians during the treatment.

“UTCN has launched the IMPROVE project, alongside “Iuliu Hatieganu” Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy and other partners, whose purpose is to identify a robotically-assisted innovative solution for the efficient onco-surgical treatment of patients with liver cancer, based on an integrated, imaging-molecular diagnosis. As end product, we intend to create a robot that will carry out an intra-surgery treatment of liver cancer based on the integrated, imaging-molecular diagnosis given by experts. The surgically appropriate methods will be transmitted by the robot, and it will be controlled by a physician and will carry out the treatment. The project will contribute, among other things, to the increase of the survival rate and the quality of life for patients with liver cancer,” Doina Pisla explained.

Attending the event on behalf of UMF Cluj was surgeon Nadin Al Hajjar, who is also part of the experts’ team of “Octavian Fodor” Regional Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. He specified that the idea of creating such a robot came from the need to find a solution to recurrent problem in Romania, where the possibility of conducting liver transplants is somewhat reduced, because the number of donors is lower than that of patients.

The surgeon specified that the robot will be used in the treatment of unresectable tumors, namely those which cannot be surgically removed but whose evolution can be halted through minimally invasive methods.

“A robot will be created and the intra-surgery procedures will be laparoscopically assisted. The liver is not a static organ, it modifies after the patient’s respiratory movements so that the robot will have a very difficult task, namely to adapt to these movements so that it can aim the medication or radioactive seeds inside the tumor. We also want to integrate a feat imaging to provide us very clear images during the intervention,” Al Hajjar explained.

The IMPROVE project is being carried out by several institutions: UTCN as coordinator, with the support of “Iuliu Hatieganu” Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca, Institute of Solid Mechanics of the Romanian Academy, “Octavian Fodor” Regional Institute of Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Research Institute for Analytical Instrumentation Subsidiary (ICIA) Cluj-Napoca, as partners.

The project is worth over 5.2 million lei, granted by Romania’s Government through the UEFISCDI programme over a 34-month implementation interval.

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