MRI-Guided Robot-Assisted Prostate Interventions

While transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) is a common imaging modality to guide percutaneous prostate interventions (e.g. biopsy and ablation therapies), its poor contrast makes it challenging to localize the lesion. Intraoperative MRI is considered as a better alternative to TRUS because of its superior tissue contrast and ability to monitor therapeutic effects (e.g. temperature). However, the lack of real-time feedback and the limited access to the patient in the gantry hinders the clinical application of MRI-guidance. To address this technical challenge and further improve targeting accuracy, we developed and clinically tested two types of needle guide robots. In 2012, we worked with Drs. Clare Tempany, MD, Kemal Tuncali, MD, Nobuhiko Hata, PhD (BWH), and Sang-Eun Song, PhD (formerly BWH, currently University of Central Florida) to develop a motorized needle-guided device called "Smart Template", which has been tested in 43 patients. We also collaborated with teams at Johns Hopkins University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Acoustic MedSystems Inc. to develop a more advanced robotic system for needle insertion with higher degree-of-freedom, remotely controlled motorized needle insertion, and real-time MR image feedback. The robot has been clinically evaluated in 26 patients.