MYNUTIA is breaking the limits of eye surgery with state-of-the-art robotic technology. With the aid of its surgical robots, eye surgeons can improve the quality of existing therapies and perform previously impossible treatments. Treatments that give millions of visually impaired and blind people a chance to regain their vision.
In contrast to conventional surgical robots, no joystick is required to operate the robot. For maximum safety and intuitiveness, the surgeon retains direct control of the instrument and its motion. The robot focuses exactly on what matters most: increasing the surgical precision over ten times. The precision enhancement is obtained by offering stabilization on three different levels: the surgeon's hand, the patient's eye and the surgical instrument.
KU Leuven is the coordinator of EurEyeCase, a €2.6M European project on robot-assisted eye surgery. The project aims at developing noval instrumentation and robot control techniques to improve the clinical outcome of current surgical procedures and to enable the application of revolutionary treatment methods.
KU Leuven, Thrombogenics and UZ Leuven will investigate the safety and feasibility of treating Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO) with robot-assisted retinal vein cannulation and Ocriplasmin injection in the context of an in-vivo animal trial. RVO is a blind-making condition caused by blocked retinal veins. It affects over 16 million people and is the second most common retinal vascular disorder.
KU Leuven succesfully demonstrated its robotic technology to over 100 vitreoretinal surgeons at the Leuven Retina Meeting 2015. UZ Leuven used the robot to precisely inject an agent into a 0.12mm-thick retinal vessel of an enucleated porcine eye. In contrast to conventional surgical robots, no joystick is required to operate the KU Leuven robot and to perform this challenging treatment.
UZ Leuven has succesfully conducted an in-vivo animal trial with the KU Leuven eye robot. The device was used to demonstrate the safety and feasibility of performing robot-assisted retinal vein cannulation. The study is a collaboration between KU Leuven, UZ Leuven and Thrombogenics. The results of the study will be published in Acta Ophthalmologica.
Our technical lead has been awarded by McKinsey & Company for his PhD dissertation, titled "Development and validation of robotic assistance devices for safe and successful retinal vein cannulation". The award is granted once a year to a researcher who has demonstrated outstanding work with a high social and economic relevance.
Over the last five years, KU Leuven has gained profound knowledge and expertise in the development of robotic assistance devices for vitreoretinal surgery. It has become one of the leading research institutes that are active in the field. Today, the Belgian Government and KU Leuven are investing in the commercial exploitation of this ground-breaking technology.
Our technical lead won the first edition of the Flemish PhD Cup with his pitch "Robot helps restoring vision of blind people". The 74 contestants, all PhD graduates, were challenged to explain there 4-year work to the general public in only three minutes. The pitches of the eight finalists were broadcasted live by Canvas, a national TV channel.
The KU Leuven eye robot will be used in a Phase I study on the feasibility and safety of robot-assisted retinal vein cannulation with Ocriplasmin infusion to treat Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO). The study is a collaboration between KU Leuven, UZ Leuven and Thrombogenics. Six patients will be enrolled in the clinical trial.
For the first time in history, a robot has been used to perform a surgical treatment inside a patient's eye which can not be done safely by hand. Surgeons of UZ Leuven used the KU Leuven eye robot to treat an RVO patient with retinal vein cannulation. During the operation, a clot-dissolving drug was succesfully injected into a 0.1mm-thick blocked retinal vein for a period of seven minutes.
The prestigious international competition, open to both academia and industry, was organised by the Hamlyn Centre in London. During the 2-day event, the ten finalists were graded by an expert judging panel on innovation, design, application and presentation. The judging panel included leading companies (Intuitive Surgical, Medtronic, KUKA Robotics, etc.), prominent researchers and surgical experts.
MYNUTIA is currently a spin-off project of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the KU Leuven. In close collaboration with the KU Leuven Technology Transfer Office, we are aiming at commercializing this promising technology. If you are a medical practitioner, business or institution with interest in this technology, feel free to contact us.