In flexible endoscopy, there is often a challenge to visualize the procedure pathway to reach a suspect lesion in the lung periphery or lymph nodes via bronchoscopy or in the pancreas via endoscopy. In bronchoscopy, where only the central airways can be directly visualized, it is difficult to define and biopsy lesions outside the bronchial wall. Therefore, harmful radiation based fluoroscopic guidance is necessary especially for peripheral nodules. Improved diagnostic success rates can be achieved with navigation systems and precise automatic robotic devices which control steerable catheters and biopsy tools that can be extended outside the endoscope. The ideal medical imaging platform would allow concomitant visualization of the anatomical target(s), the neighboring anatomy (e.g., larger vessels), hybrid CT/MRI-video imaging, the best pathway to target, and the real-time precise position of the bronchoscope/endoscope and biopsy tool.
The main objective of the IDEAR project is to develop an advanced (TRL5) prototype of a medical software and robotic platform for improving cancer diagnostics in flexible endoscopy using AI and medical robotics to increase procedure success rate, decrease the patient’s radiation exposure, and reduce procedure cost for early detection and treatment of malignant tumors.
The platform will contain two components with many technical innovations:
- a software part for instrument and robot control and navigation using dual electromagnetic/optical tracking and machine learning
- a hardware part with a novel smart robotic (SAR) system, which will assist the clinician in directing several novel flexible instruments also developed by the IDEAR consortium (i.e. biopsy catheter).