A Medical Device Daily

Surgeons and engineers at Imperial College London are collaborating on the development of a surgical robotic assistant they say can help improve surgical outcomes for patients undergoing partial knee replacement.

The Acrobot, a prototype of which was developed by medical robotics engineers and tested by Imperial College surgeons, resulted in “significantly more accurate” surgical results than conventional surgery.

The study involved both surgeons and engineers from Imperial College, with medical robotics engineers designing the Acrobot prototype, and surgeons testing it.

According to a report last month by Medical News Today, a UK web site for both health professionals and consumers, Acrobot works by helping the surgeon line up replacement knee parts with existing bones.

The study conducted by Imperial College London surgeons in conjunction with the collaboration cited greater accuracy with the robot-assisted knee surgery than with conventional surgery.

The report said surgeons looked at 27 patients undergoing unicompartmental knee replacement. Separated into two groups as part of a randomized controlled trial, 14 patients had conventional surgery, the remainder robot-assisted surgery.

The study indicated that while the robot-assisted procedures took a few minutes longer, the replacement knee parts were more accurately lined up via that method than in conventional surgery. All of the robotically assisted operations lined up the bones to within two degrees of the planned position, but only 40% of the conventionally performed cases achieved that level of accuracy.

The researchers found there were no additional side effects from using robot-assisted surgery, and recovery from surgery was quicker in most cases.

Professor Justin Cobb of Imperial College London, who led the research team, said, “These robots are designed to hold the surgeon’s hand in the operating theatre, not take over the operation. This study shows they can be an enormous help, preventing surgeons from making mistakes.”

He added: “More importantly, by showing how the increased accuracy makes a difference to how well a knee works after surgery, we will be able to develop a new generation of less-invasive procedures without the risks of error, providing faster recovery and better functional outcomes for patients.”

Cobb said the study could have “important implications” not just for surgery, but also for health economics. “By improving the accuracy of surgery, and ultimately improving the outcome for patients, we can make sure the knee replacements work better and last longer, preventing the need for additional surgery,” he said.

Two more countries add Zonda tests

Zonda (Moraga, California), which is focused on development of test products that serve the medical diagnostic, bacterial food testing and environmental surfaces testing markets, reported that it has received the first order for its HandiLab-C chlamydia test for Holland and Belgium.

The order for the over-the-counter version of the HandiLab-C test, which will be distributed to pharmacies and other retail locations throughout Holland and Belgium, will be shipped along with re-orders that were placed recently for Swedish and Norwegian pharmacies.

Zonda said its HandiLab-C test is the only over-the-counter chlamydia test that carries the CE mark.

Tammy Dunn, CEO of CLX Investment Co. (Temecula California), which holds a 31% equity interest in Zonda, said, “With the addition of Belgium and Holland, the distribution of Zonda’s products continues to grow, as do the revenues from the sale of these products across Europe. We are pleased with the progress that has been made with expanding product distribution in a relatively short period of time and look forward to additional countries being supplied with Zonda testing products over the coming quarters.”

Zonda’s gonorrhea, yeast and Strep A tests carry CE marks for professional point-of-care use, and Zonda is seeking similar approvals for over-the-counter sales of those products.

Radiology meeting features DOBI system

DOBI Medical International (Mahwah, New Jersey) said it would exhibit its latest Dynamic Optical Breast Im-aging (DOBI) technology, the ComfortScan system, at the European Congress of Radiology, which begins Friday and runs through next Monday at the Austria Center Vienna.

Participants from more than 90 countries are expected to participate in the 18th annual conference, which is one of the most prominent radiology events in Europe and according to the organizers is one of the largest scientific meetings in the world.

According to the European Network of Cancer Registries, breast cancer is the most common cancer among females in Europe and is estimated to be responsible for 18% of all cancer deaths in Europe.

The ComfortScan system is a near-infrared-based, non-invasive and non-ionizing imaging system designed to be used along with mammography to improve the diagnosis of breast cancer, by identifying tumor angiogenesis, or the growth of new blood vessels, often associated with cancer.

DOBI said it has distribution agreements in place in 16 countries, and several others pending. Its European distribution network includes the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands and Russia.

The ComfortScan system has CE-mark and UL designations, and DOBI Medical is an ISO-certified company.

Israeli firm in telemedicine effort

Visonic (Tel Aviv, Israel), a maker of electronic security systems and home management systems, reported strengthening its position in home healthcare by entering the telemedicine sector through a partnership agreement with TMT Telemedicine Web Medical Cente .

The agreement signed with the controlling shareholders of TMT establishes a partnership between Visonic and TMT, within the framework of a company called Visonic-TMT Telemedicine (Lyon, France).

In exchange for an investment of EUR 711,366, Visonic has gained a 12.15% stake in the newly formed company.

Visonic said the alliance will give it an enhanced marketing and sales platform with which to expand into the telemedicine field, on the basis of TMT’s package of solutions in the area of home healthcare and telemedicine.