Cancer: a robot to better destroy metastases to the liver

Surgeons of Gustave Roussy used for the first time a robot to guide the destruction of localized metastases in the liver.

It’s a first. To guide the destruction by microwaves of localized metastases in the liver of a cancer patient, Pr Thierry de Baere, head of the therapeutic imaging department of Gustave Roussy, and his team, used a robot.

“The procedure went perfectly. The robot successfully completed its mission. The first patient is fine, he was discharged from the hospital the next day,” said Professor de Baere.

Treat liver metastases without opening

Metastasis to the liver is a tumor that originates from cancer that has grown on another organ and then spread to the liver. To destroy these metastases without opening, the surgeons call on interventional radiology: images taken before the intervention allow the radiologist to panify the position of the needle which will deliver the treatment as well as the depth and axis to access it , knowing that the liver is located in an area very rich in arteries and veins.

What the robot does

“The robot helps us by positioning where to insert the needle through the skin as well as its inclination to reach the metastases without damaging tissue” underlines Professor de Baere. From 3D scanner images, the robot calculates “with ballistic precision” the best position. His articulated arm is placed at the precise place where the radiologist must introduce the needle towards the tumor.

Un robot “made in France”

This “robot” is actually a device that combines robotics and image analysis. It was developed by a French medical robotics company, Quantum Surgical, based in Montpellier. The intervention led by Professor de Baere is part of a multicenter clinical trial which aims to assess the performance and safety of this robotic device. A total of 20 patients will be included in 3 French centers. The world premiere was carried out in early June at the Montpellier University Hospital on a primary liver tumor. At Gustave Roussy, this is a first made on metastases.

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