BackTable / VI / Podcast / Episode #299
Robotics in Interventional Oncology
with Lucien Blondel
In this episode, host Aaron Fritts interviews engineer Lucien Blondel, co-founder and CTO of Quantum Surgical. We discuss robotic applications for interventional oncology procedures and the Epione robot’s impacts on workflow and accuracy.
BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2023, March 8). Ep. 299 – Robotics in Interventional Oncology [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.backtable.com
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Lucien Blondel is the co-founder and CTO of Quantum Surgical.
Dr. Aaron Fritts
Dr. Aaron Fritts is a Co-Founder of BackTable and a practicing interventional radiologist in Dallas, Texas.
Lucien first started innovating with robotics in the orthopedics, then neurosurgery fields. He has worked in startups and large corporations. Now, he is focused on interventional oncology. The catalyst for his idea came when his former startup was acquired. Lucien chose to create a company with three other co-founders and then explore. Quantum Surgical’s mission is to democratize minimally invasive cancer treatment through pre-planning, advanced robotic assistance, and tumor ablation confirmation. Lucien started by obtaining the broad vision of the market. He noticed a clear unmet need: There was a proven clinical technique, but outcomes were very operator-dependent. Quantum Surgical’s Epione robot could help alleviate this gap. Higher accuracy can lead to decreased invasiveness and more patient comfort in the outpatient setting.
The first application for Quantum Surgical was pre planning software for interventional oncology procedures. He noticed that operators had difficulty visualizing masses for ablation. The robotic image vision software allows merging of CT and MRI images. Additionally, it can provide 3D modeling of ablation zones, map out needle trajectories, and confirm ablation by comparing pre-procedure and post-procedure imaging. Lucien emphasizes that the Epione robot can provide multiple functionalities for the same procedure, reducing the need to utilize different devices. The built-in features are programmed to adjust to patient movements and allow the physician to choose the safest path for needle placement.
Finally, we discuss implications of robotics for workflow. Doctors can be more efficient in reviewing images, placing needles, and confirming ablation zones. Epione also reduces the need to obtain images during the procedure. At the moment, Epione is primarily focused on ablation of liver and kidney tumors. However, Lucien envisions the technology expanding to tumor biopsies, especially those that are located in high risk areas. Quantum Surgical is also looking into machine learning and prediction of local tumor progression.
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