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Robotic Technologies and Micro-Technologies for Targeted Therapy: Challenges and Opportunities

Wyss EventLecture

Robotic manipulators were introduced for the first time in surgery in 1985, when a Puma 560 was used by Kwoh for performing neurosurgical biopsies with high precision. After that milestone, robots and robotic technologies have gained an increasingly important role in surgery, thanks to the accuracy and repeatability they could add to surgical tasks. From the original task of increasing accuracy and repeatability, robots today are asked to do more: they should be unobtrusive and flexible in terms of sharing control with human operators, they should perform some tasks better and they should reach areas normally not reachable by traditional surgical solutions.

This talk introduces the key aspects of targeted therapy starting from the speaker’s experience in robotics for minimally invasive and computer assisted surgery. The quest for miniaturization and natural access to the targeted pathologies led to the development of diagnostic and surgical tools to be delivered with an endoluminal and transluminal approach – such as endoscopic capsules – and to be controlled and propelled by remote operation schemes from outside.

In addition to the traditional control of remote devices into the body, external sources, such as magnetic fields, ultrasound waves or laser beams, have been used for stimulating internal devices and triggering some therapeutic effects from outside, in a non-invasive way.

The quest for targeted therapy has recently opened new opportunities for robotic technologies, which are used more and more as controllers for the delivery of drugs embedded in nanobiotech vectors and as solutions for making therapy really localized in the area of interest, enabling on-demand release kinetics and eliminating (or strongly limiting) side effects.

This talk aims to present the above mentioned trends, with the support of specific examples coming from the speaker’s experience and her collaboration network.

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