MRT is in the process of building a portfolio of examples to show the capabilities of our precision robotic arms. This is the story of the first of many spinout companies, created by bring relevant industrial partners, engineers and business developers together.
The story of Preceyes
Over the last century, devices that enhance surgical precision have given us the greatest breakthroughs in ophthalmology. Ten years ago we looked at the huge medical machines built by the US company Intuitive Surgical. We examined their DaVinci robot which assists surgeons in very precise operations in the thorax or abdomen which cannot be done easily by hand. The robotic arm can get in at angles which are not otherwise straightforward .
The problem then was that this huge and very expensive machine had only limited accuracy. Many hours of training were needed before the surgeon could use it. We saw other ways to tackle the challenge. So we started designing a new robotic arm which would operate in much closer proximity to the patient. This not only dramatically improves cutting accuracy, but it means we could put four sensors in the tip of the robot head to give the surgeon haptic feedback - he or she can feel the forces on the tissue and that is not possible with the Intuitive machine.
This disruptive thinking got us noticed by leading surgeons all over the world. They pointed us in other directions where precision mechanics was also needed. Within a year, we had a slave robot designed to assist eye surgeons with difficult operations on the retina.
Our robot operates with an accuracy of better than 10 microns, which means we can do operations in the vein of a retina- which is the size of a human hair.
FIRST IN A LINE OF STARTUP COMPANIES
Our first of several startup companies is called Preceyes. It began with a team of 5 people, funded by large pharmaceutical companies. This meant our team could conduct proof of concept tests on the procedure. Preceyes high-precision robotic system targets ocular surgery, with vitreoretinal surgical procedures as the initial target market.
In February 2016, Preceyes announced a collaboration with NightstaRx Ltd of London on the development of high-precision drug delivery technology. Nightstar is using the Preceyes robotic device to further refine the delivery of gene therapy to the subretinal space for a range of inherited retinal diseases. Nightstar will purchase the PRECEYES Surgical System for use in human gene therapy trials.
In a separate collaboration, a team led by Robert MacLaren, Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Oxford BioMedical Research Centre, will be initiating human clinical trials using the PRECEYES Surgical System. They have approval for a clinical trial in Oxford which will be the first to assess use of a robotic device for surgery inside the eye.
For further information on Preceyes, see their website www.preceyes.nl or contact Perry van Rijsingen, CEO, Tel +31 40 247 4789.