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 Medical Inc.(PMI).

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 Nanomotion.

“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.

Bookmark this page

To top