The words “overdiagnosis” and “overtreatment” are still big concerns in prostate cancer, even though scientists have made great strides in determining who should be treated right away, and who can afford to wait.
Could a more sensitive biopsy help clarify who needs curative treatment? Dan Stoianovici, Ph.D., professor of urology, mechanical engineering, and neurosurgery, hopes to find out. “Our Urology Robotics Laboratory has developed a robot that can be used in MRIguided prostate biopsy,” he says, and a pilot clinical trial is expected to begin soon.
Prostate biopsies are done using a different imaging technology: ultrasound. Stoianovici hopes that MRI will allow for a more precise, systematic approach to sampling the prostate for cancer.
The robot, the first of its kind, can operate in the high magnetic field of the MRI without disrupting its imaging ability, and preclinical tests have been promising.
Prostate biopsies today are done
using ultrasound. But Stoianovici
hopes that a different kind of
imaging, MRI, will allow for a more
precise, systematic approach. Early
tests have been promising.
The device mounts on the MRI table and attaches with suction cups, as the patient lies on his left side. “With robot assistance, primary prostate biopsies would follow true systematic plans,” says Stoianovici, “and repeat biopsies would be tailored to target any abnormalities that may be observed, as well as to target any regions not sampled before. Biopsies for men on active surveillance would accurately resample critical regions to make sure that the cancer is not progressing.”