Project: Automated Seed-Catheter Assembly System

Development of a device for automated assembling of patient specific radioactive catheters just in time and on site of use_x000D_ _x000D_ Overview_x000D_ Brachytherapy for cancer treatment is commonly applied as Low Dose Rate (LDR) brachytherapy, where the radiation emitting seeds are implanted permanently in the patient’s body [10]. Another technique used is High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy. HDR is not subject of this proposal. _x000D_ For the treatment of brain tumours, the technology of a small number of removable catheters containing a small number of radiation emitting seeds is successfully applied as LDR. Each catheter contains an optimal set of different radioactive seeds and spacers to cover the tumour with optimal dose and to spare the surrounding tissue [8, 9]. Typically only one to five catheters contain only one to four seeds per catheter. The treatment is less invasive compared to conventional LDR, where dozens of radioactive seeds are implanted [10]. _x000D_ Because these catheters can stay implanted in the tumour for a number of days or weeks, the radiobiological advantage of LDR brachytherapy is combined with the small number of removable catheters, as known from HDR brachytherapy. To patients, both advantages can be communicated well. Our treatment technique requires a dedicated 3D dose planning and optimization software package Praezis Plus which is available from the Precisis AG today._x000D_ _x000D_ State of the art_x000D_ Some tumours of the brain can effectively be treated by bringing radioactive isotopes inside of the tumour. Historically, after applying HDR brachytherapy in the 70ies, this methodology was replaced by the less invasive permanent seed implantation in the 80ies. Because those seeds could change their position in the patient’s brain and the radiation dose could not be influenced after permanent implantation, this method was modified to time limited implantation of catheters, which is today state of the art. The exact dose planning and very precise configuration and placement of the catheters are required._x000D_ Using Iodine-125 seeds for this treatment is well established. To place the catheters with very high precision inside of brain tumours is achieved with using stereotactic surgery methods as supported by the Precisis AG._x000D_ _x000D_ Goal_x000D_ The project will develop a compact device for automated assembly of catheters with radioactive seeds and distance pieces (spacers). The device is placed near the operating room and the catheter is assembled automatically just-in-time for the surgeon. The composition of the catheter is obtained from a planning software individually for each patient. A direct interface between the planning software and the assembly device will be integrated. The device will have radiation shielding that prevents all of the staff from being exposed to radiation. A fully functional prototype of an Automated Seed-Catheter Assembly System (ASCAS) will be developed in the project for approval for clinical testing. During the project, issues of product development accreditation will already be accounted for, in order to allow for a fast market launch after the project phase. _x000D_ _x000D_ Approach_x000D_ ASCAS will be a modular device, consequently designed for the use in the operating room. The device has feeders for the seeds, catheter pipes and spacers. Because the radioactivity of the seeds differs, the number and order of the seeds in each catheter must be COtained according to the pre-planned dosage. Therefore, the system measures the radioactivity of each seed and stores them in an internal magazine. The place of the exact seed in the magazine and the assignment of the measurement results are clearly defined, so that the correct seed with the appropriate activity is placed at the correct spot in the catheter during assembly. In an assembly module the positioning of seeds and spacers in the catheter pipe is performed. The catheter is labeled for safe identification._x000D_ The device also integrates a sterilization module and provides an interface for the planning software, which is provided by the Precisis AG._x000D_ _x000D_ Project consortium_x000D_ The project consortium is composed of three SMEs and an institute for applied sciences and development. The SMEs are 1. the manufacturer and distributor for stereotaxy equipment and software Precisis AG, 2. the manufacturer and integrator AKAtech GmbH and 3. Lauer innovation GmbH to supply engineering services. The Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation acts as a technology developer. _x000D_ _x000D_ For a schematic diagram of the planned assembly system please see annex 1a. Annex 1b shows a schematic diagram of the assembling process to be automated.

Acronym ASCAS (Reference Number: 7269)
Duration 01/05/2013 - 30/04/2016
Project Topic The goal of the project is the development of a device for an automated assembling of individually matched radioactive catheters for the treatment of tumours (brachytherapy) from radioactive seeds and spacers, which is currently executed manually.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 8

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
6 Duller Engineering GmbH Observer Austria
6 PAYR Engineering GmbH Partner Austria
6 Lauer Innovation GmbH Observer Austria
6 Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. Partner Germany
6 CCS Akatech GmbH Partner Austria
6 Precisis AG Coordinator Germany