An Enhanced Delivery Ecosystem for Neurosurgery in 2020: 2016 – 2020

EDEN2020 was an 8-partner, €8.3M Research and Innovation Action, which officially started on the 1st of April 2016 and was completed on 30th of September 2021. Due to an ageing population and the spiralling cost of brain disease in Europe and beyond, EDEN2020 aimed to develop the gold standard for one-stop diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment in neurosurgery. Supported by a clear business case, it exploited the unique track record of leading research institutions and key industrial players in the field of surgical robotics to overcome the current technological barriers that stand in the way of real clinical impact.

EDEN2020 provided a step-change in the modelling, planning and delivery of diagnostic sensors and therapies to the brain via flexible surgical access, with an initial focus on cancer therapy. It engineered a family of steerable catheters for chronic disease management that can be robotically deployed and kept in situ for extended periods. The system featured enhanced autonomy, surgeon cooperation, targeting proficiency and fault tolerance with a suite of technologies that are commensurate to the unique challenges of neurosurgery. Amongst these, the system was developed to sense and perceive intraoperative, continuously deforming, brain anatomy at unmatched accuracy, precision and update rates, and deploy a range of diagnostic optical sensors with the potential to revolutionise today’s approach to brain disease management. By modelling and predicting drug diffusion within the brain with unprecedented fidelity, EDEN2020 contributed to the wider clinical challenge of extending and enhancing the quality of life of cancer patients – with the ability to plan therapies around delicate tissue structures and with unparalleled delivery accuracy.

EDEN2020 was strengthened by a significant industrial presence, which was embedded within the entire R&D process to enforce best practices and maximise translation and the exploitation of project outputs. As it aspired to impact the state-of-the-art and consolidate the position of European industrial robotics, it directly supported the Europe 2020 Strategy.