Johnson Medtech’s non-magnetic motors power world’s first MRI-guided
prostate cancer treatment device
28 January 2009
Johnson Medtech, the medical products division of Johnson Electric,
has announced its participation in creating the world’s first
MRI-compatible image-guided tumour treatment device with Profound
This revolutionary tissue coagulation device is expected to treat
prostate cancer in a fraction of the time and cost of existing methods,
based on extensive modelling, simulation and pre-clinical trials.
Critical to the success of the system, Johnson Medtech’s non-magnetic
'Nanomotion' actuators enable the precision of motion and accuracy of
treatment necessary for safely conducting the image-guided prostate
cancer therapy within the strong magnetic field of the MRI.
PMI’s device uses an MRI for imaging and a proprietary planar
ultrasound applicator for treatment. The MRI precisely guides the probe
that heats the cancerous tissue to effectively destroy the diseased
area. In the past, the magnetic nature of electric motors and their
metal components made it impossible for motorized medical devices to
function within the MRI environment.
To overcome this challenge, PMI selected Nanomotion’s HR2-1-N-3 piezo
ultrasonic non-magnetic motors to rotate the device’s probe. When
combined with the real-time non-invasive visibility into the human body
provided by the MRI, the sophisticated low-speed Nanomotion actuators in
PMI’s device enable medical professionals to operate the probe at a
microscopic scale to conduct this groundbreaking procedure.
“When designing our prostate cancer treatment device, we knew that it
would require the visibility exclusively available in an MRI
environment. However, conventional motors were a roadblock to creating a
working proof-of-concept device and bringing this important development
to reality — and only Johnson Medtech could provide the solution,” said
Dr. Michael Bronskill, Chief Technical Officer of Profound Medical.
“Johnson Medtech’s Nanomotion non-magnetic motors provide the motion
necessary to enable our tissue coagulation device to effectively treat
prostate cancer patients within the MRI environment, and with a degree
of precision that is crucial to success.”
Prostate cancer continues to afflict millions of men around the
world, with an estimated 400,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Several
prostate cancer treatments are available, including radiation. Even the
treatments with high success levels leave the patient with enduring and
sometimes permanent impotency and incontinence problems in the vast
majority of cases.
PMI’s minimally-invasive thermal ablation device powered by
Nanomotion’s motors treats prostate cancer as well as or better than
radiation, and projects to deliver significantly fewer side effects,
based on pre-clinical research.
While some radiation methods often require 9-12 weekly one-hour
treatments, PMI’s device completes the treatment process in just one
visit, and with far greater accuracy for targeting the affected area.
“Scientists have worked for years to develop a prostate cancer
treatment that yields no inconvenient side effects to the patient, but
the extreme degree of precision required to target and treat a small
area has been limited by human ability and legacy devices,” said Jim
Dick, senior vice president of Johnson Electric and chairman of
“Working together with Profound Medical, Johnson Medtech is proud to
be part of the design team that solved the challenges of delivering a
device to treat prostate cancer victims more quickly and safely.”
Profound Medical’s device was initially developed at the Sunnybrook
Health Sciences Center by Chief Technical Officer Dr Michael Bronskill
and Chief Science Officer Dr Rajiv Chopra. The company has just received
the OCRI’s “Canada’s Top 10 Life Science Companies” award, and is and
rapidly working toward FDA approval for the device.
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