InnerOptic and Kitware to Develop Needle-Guidance System that Targets Hepatic Tumors

InnerOptic Technology and Kitware are pleased to announce Phase II SBIR funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the development of a needle guidance system for hepatic tumor ablation. The operating room ready system will provide novel 3D visualizations for needle guidance in soft tissues.

Using InnerOptic’s Spotlight™ technology, which was developed during Phase I of this grant, intra-operative ultrasound images will be fused with pre-operative computed tomography (CT) images. The Spotlight system renders opaquely and in sharp detail only the portions of the CT data that are in the vicinity of the ultrasound probe or the needle trajectory. This is analogous to a spotlight on stage: illuminating the scene of interest, while the rest of the stage is transparent and out-of-focus to be less distracting.

During liver lesion ablations and other image-guided procedures, surgeons and interventional radiologists currently must rely on mentally-integrated information from several imaging modalities. While CT imaging has excellent diagnostic value, breathing and surgical manipulation can cause tissues to move and deform. Additionally, intra-operative ultrasound images are available in real-time but have a limited field-of-view and can be less effective than CT at distinguishing tissues and pathologies. Physicians must therefore alternate between viewing annotated pre-operative CT images or live ultrasound images on separate monitors, with no interaction between them. The awarded Phase II grant will extend Spotlight with registration algorithms that will keep the CT and ultrasound images continuously aligned. The work will result in a radically improved workflow for using CT and ultrasound images in image-guided soft tissue procedures.

“InnerOptic is pleased to receive this NIH grant, enabling us to significantly advance our visualization technology for minimally invasive procedures,” said Brian Heaney, CEO at InnerOptic. “We are excited to work with Kitware to integrate their innovative registration algorithms with Spotlight, our patented CT-ultrasound visualization system.”

“We are thrilled to take part in this project and to assist InnerOptic in its product development,” said Stephen Aylward, PI for Kitware. “The vessel-based registration algorithm has been a part of our in-house research for many years, and we look forward to seeing it incorporated into a commercial system. Through this work, we aim to reduce surgery time and patient recovery time, while increasing the effectiveness of needle ablation, localized drug delivery, and needle biopsy.”

National Institutes of Health Acknowledgement and Disclaimer
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R44CA143234. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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