The EDEN2020 project kicked-off on the 11th April 2016, at the premises of Imperial College London. All partners were well represented and the meeting provided a fruitful basis for delivering the project’s objectives in accordance with the project’s Description of Action.
During the one-day meeting, the attendees discussed administrative, legal, financial and technical aspects of the project and the first General Assembly was held. The Coordinator led the process, providing a framework for discussion while ensuring that all attendees were made aware of the project’s ambitions, scope, and obligations.
Dr. Ferdinando Rodriguez y Baena kicked-off the meeting by recalling the aims of the project, i.e. to create a neurosurgical robotic-assisted technology platform for minimally invasive surgical delivery for therapy and in situ diagnostics and progress monitoring.In brief, EDEN2020 is an 8-partner, €8.3M Research and Innovation Action, which officially started on the 1st of April 2016 and will last for 4 years. EDEN2020 aims to develop an integrated platform for one-stop diagnosis and minimally invasive treatment in neurosurgery. The consortium’s aim is to exploit 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 aspires to provide 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 will engineer a family of steerable catheters for chronic disease management that can be robotically deployed and kept in situ for extended periods.
The system will feature 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 will be able to sense and perceive intraoperative, continuously deforming, brain anatomy at unmatched accuracy, precision, and update rates, and deploy a range of diagnostic optical sensors to drastically improve upon today’s approach to brain disease management. By modelling and predicting drug diffusion within the brain with unprecedented fidelity, the expectation is that EDEN2020 will contribute 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 is strengthened by a significant industrial presence (Renishaw plc. and XoGraph ltd.), which is embedded within the entire R&D process to enforce best practices and maximise translation and the exploitation of project outputs. The Imperial team will coordinate the project, which will be steered by a leading clinical team in Italy (Universita’ di Milano, Universita’ Vita Salute San Raffaele and Politecnico di Milano) headed by Prof Lorenzo Bello. Additionally, the EDEN2020 consortium benefits from the involvement of leading experts in intra-operative imaging (Technical University of Munich) and shape sensing (Universitair Medisch Centrum Groningen).
Clinical use case
During the kick-off meeting, Dr. Rodriguez y Baena emphasised the clinical use case of EDEN2020, clearly supporting Horizon 2020’s aim of generating societal impact. It is envisaged that EDEN2020 will establish a complex biphasic model of diffusion, supported by measurements and imaging on humans, which will predict the optimal patient-specific injection parameters for a particular lesion. Moreover, an intelligent planner will assist the surgeon to define the optimal needle trajectory to a lesion, whereas a real-time intraoperative needle insertion platform will be developed, which will allow for accurate, adaptive path tracking in the presence of tissue deformation and imaging artefacts.
Neuromate and intro-operative ultrasound
Subsequently, after discussions on management and governance, technical discussions kicked off with introductory presentations on the Neuromate/Neuroinspire platform (Paul Fielder – Renishaw plc.). The Neuromate is the world’s first image-guided neurosurgical robot and it is envisaged that it will be integrated with the EDEN2020 drug delivery system over the course of the project. Prof Nassir Navab and Dr. Christoph Hennersperger from the Technical University of Munich presented their activities on intra-operative ultrasound, one of the techniques that will be at the core of EDEN2020’s activities. Finally, Prof Sarthak Misra, from the University Medical Centre Groningen, completed the set of scene-setting presentations, with an overview of the state-of-the-art in the field of shape sensing.
EDEN2020 is funded by Horizon 2020 – the EU’s Research and Innovation Programme for 2014-2020 – and will run until 31st of March 2020.