In dealing with health crises, patients at times face the dilemma in that the treatments they must undergo can have unanticipated and long-lasting side effects. Even if they recover fully from their initial crisis, they may face decreased quality of life.
One of our focus areas in our health innovation has been working together with clinicians to find ways to minimize the negative impact that major surgeries can have on patients. We are constantly envisioning ways in which we can help clinicians improve surgeries and treatments to be minimally invasive and to achieve the most positive outcomes possible.
Philips is currently in the early stages of developing one such tool, aimed at helping surgeons perform safer and more accurate prostate cancer treatments.
The challenges of non-invasive surgery
The treatment at the center of our prototype tool is focal brachytherapy, a minimally invasive procedure that uses needles and radiation seeds to target tumors in the prostate in a localized way so that healthy tissue is not exposed to radiation.
The challenge with this therapy is that it is difficult to get the positioning right without proper guidance, leading to an increased chance of side effects such as incontinence and erectile dysfunction.
The right guidance
We envision a solution to help guide clinicians with more targeted positioning, with the aim to increase the chance of ‘first-time-right’ treatment. By combining live 3D ultrasound with MR images and a tiny tracking device attached to the ultrasound probe, our prototype solution will be able to give clinicians greater real-time visual feedback similar to GPS positioning.
Currently, we are in the research stages in order to comprehensively understand the challenges of the brachytherapy process. We do this in close collaboration with clinical partners, which is a fundamental aspect of a successful development process.
A proven track record
One of the reasons we are excited about this prototype is that it will build upon the established work of Philips Research and Healthcare innovations. By drawing on our previous life-changing technologies and finding new ways to utilize them, we hope to have a positive impact on cancer patients’ quality of life.