Professor Alberto Arezzo is guest editor of this year’s Special Section of the IEEE Transactions on Medical Robotics and Bionics (T-MRB) Journal. This year’s focus is “From Bench to Bedside”, with the intention to celebrate methods, technologies and applications that have successfully been translated to a clinical setting.
Professor Alberto Arezzo is also speaker at the Soft, smart, multifunctional, agile and aware surgical robots: Progress and technologies: Day 1, workshop on the 9th June 2021.
“The Road Ahead For Endoluminal Intervention: The ENDOO and RED Projects”.
There is a clear need to increase early diagnosis of colorectal neoplasms to allow more local excisions and perform organ-sparing surgery. In 2015 the European Community funded the ENDOO Project within the H2020 Research Program. This is about the development of a magnetic capsule, an integrated robotic platform for the navigation of a soft-tethered colonoscope capable of performing painless diagnosis and treatment. Endoo combines a “front-wheel” magnetic–driven approach for active and smooth navigation with diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities for overcoming the limitations of current colonoscopy in terms of patient discomfort, dependence on operator skills, costs and outcomes for the healthcare systems. The aim of the Endoo Project is to bring the system to the market for extensive clinical use.
Once a reasonable rate of diagnosis of colorectal neoplasms at an early stage will be reached we should be able to offer these patients a minimally invasive (i.e. endoluminal) way of cure. Current endoscopic techniques such as endoscopic mucosectomy or endoscopic submucosal dissection failed to prove really effective both for the high rate of complications and the low rate of oncologic adequacy forcing too many cases to subsequent radical surgery. We conceived a Surgical Robotic Platform for Endoscopic Dissection which we called RED (Robot for Endoscopic Dissection). The robotic platform consists of the miniaturized robot, the actuator housing, the control unit and the master console to read in the user intention. The proposed technology is a two-armed robot with a total of six DoFs fixed at the tip of a standard endoscope. The workspace generated from the DoFs of the two-activated robotic arms covers a large part of endoscope field of view and allows to reach the target area for proper tissue dissection.
Alberto Arezzo is Associate Professor of Surgery at the Dept. of Surgical Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Torino, Italy. He has a long experience in minimally invasive surgery, since the early 90ies, with particular interest in the treatment of colorectal cancer. Educated at the University of Tuebingen (Germany) under Gerhard Buess, he was initiated to surgery through the transanal approach (TEM – Transanal Endoscopic Microsurgery) first and to design operative techniques for flexible endoscopy through several devices he contributed to conceive and design. During this time, he became partner of some of the major companies in the field, such as Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific, with particular interest towards the application of the concept of Natural Orifices Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery (NOTES) of which he is awarded as a pioneer. His interest in the field of technologies included the application of robotics, as well as the development of microrobots for endoluminal surgery, for which he owns a prestigious patent named RED – Robot for Endoscopic Dissection.
Along his career he received several national and international fellowships and awards both for clinical studies and for achievements in technology for surgery. He is currently Vice-Coordinator of the PhD Course in Bioengineering and Surgical Sciences, he is teaching Principles, materials and applications of robotics in biomedicine as well as Planning, management and analysis of clinical and laboratory research. Since 2017 he is Research Lead at MITIC (Minimally Invasive Therapy & Innovation Centre), at the University of Torino, Italy. Since 2019 he is Editor of the journal Minimally Invasive Therapy and Allied Technologies, Official Journal of the Society for Medical Innovation & Technology of which he has been President in 2017. He is member of the Scientific Committee of UEG, United European Gastroenterology, Chair of both the Technology Committee and the Program Committee of the European Association Endoscopic Surgery (EAES). He took part as local coordinator to the EU Projects CLEANTEST (FP5 2001-2003), VECTOR (FP6 2006-2011), STIFF-FLOP (FP7 2012-2015), ENDOO (H2020 2015-2019).
Talk: The Road Ahead For Endoluminal Intervention: The ENDOO and RED Projects