MRI-Compatible Robot Aims to Improve Breast Cancer Biopsies

The University of Twente in Enschede, Netherlands recently introduced “the world’s smallest and most accurate 3D-printed biopsy robot,” called the Stormram 4.  The device is designed to carry out biopsies during breast cancer scans and was developed by a team at the university’s Robotics and Mechanics lab in collaboration with Ziekenhuis Groep Twente.

The Stormram 4 can be used inside an MRI scanner because it is constructed entirely of plastic and is small enough to fit inside the MRI scanner’s narrow tunnel.  The device is powered by rectilinear and curved air-pressure motors, which are controlled by an operator outside of the MRI scanner.  New Atlas reports that the device allows the biopsy procedure to be carried out with sub-millimeter precision, which is impossible to achieve manually.

Vincent Groenhuis MSc, one of the Stormram 4 developers, spoke with Digital Trends about the new device.  He stated:

The robotic system can manipulate the needle more precisely toward target coordinates of the lesion inside the body, on the first attempt . . . . This will improve the accuracy of the biopsy procedure compared to the current manual practice. Secondly, the needle insertion can be performed inside the MRI scanner itself, so that the needle can be followed under nearly real-time imaging guidance. The required time to perform the biopsy is also shorter, allowing more effective use of the MRI scanner facilities.

According to Digital Trends, the Stormram 4 is in its final stages of design, after which Groenhuis and his team plan for the device to undergo clinical testing in order to obtain regulatory approval.

The Stormram 4 is one of several MRI-compatible robots under development in the field of cancer diagnosis and treatment.  Earlier this year, researchers at Johns Hopkins reported on a successful prostate biopsy trial of an MRI-compatible biopsy robot called MrBot.  According to the Urology Robotics Lab at Johns Hopkins, MrBot is the “first fully actuated MRI robot.”

Catherine Gourash
Catherine Gourash is an associate in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office. Ms. Gourash’s practice focuses on patent law, with an emphasis on pharmaceutical litigation under the Hatch-Waxman Act. Ms. Gourash joined the firm in 2014.
Click here to read full bio
View all posts published by Catherine Gourash »

Leave a Reply

By using this blog, you agree and understand that no information is being provided in the context of any attorney-client relationship. You further agree and understand that nothing herein is intended to be legal advice. This blog is solely informational in nature, and is not intended as, and should not be used as, a substitute for competent legal advice from a retained and licensed attorney in your state. Knobbe Martens LLP makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness, timeliness or availability of the information in this blog. Knobbe Martens LLP will not be liable for any injury or damages relating to your use of, or access to, any such information. Knobbe Martens LLP undertakes no obligation to correct or update information on this blog, which may be incorrect or become incorrect or out of date over time. Knobbe Martens LLP reserves the right to alter or delete content or information on the blog at any time. This blog contains links and references to other websites and publications that you may find of interest. Knobbe Martens LLP does not control, promote, endorse or otherwise have any affiliation with any other websites or publications unless those websites or publications expressly state such an affiliation. Knobbe Martens LLP further has no responsibility for, and makes no representations regarding, the content, accuracy or any other aspect of the information in such websites or publications.