What has the ATTRACT seed funding enabled you to do so far?
ATTRACT has enabled us to implement the complex analysis of multimodal presurgical mapping MRI data in a single specialised platform. Our prototype features a marked easy of use, enabling a clinical operator to perform the multiple operations required to analyse, reformat and output the MRI data to a “neuronavigator” without having to count on a research team. This is expected to strongly foster the diffusion of presurgical mapping procedures to hospitals outside the academic community. Furthermore, in this platform 3D-holograms are created from MRI data and integrated into the Microsoft Hololens with a specialised application allowing the surgeon to virtually explore critical brain structures that need to be spared during the intervention.
What challenges have you faced so far?
Due to the proprietary and non-disclosed format of the information/image flow in the available commercial surgical microscope/exoscope, including these images in the mixed-reality device turned out to be difficult. Although this is a plus for our main goals, it would be a significant improvement in enhancing the potential of the system during the surgery. We are trying alternative solutions but we think that the ideal solution is to directly involve the related companies in future developments of the project.
Where does your ATTRACT journey go from here?
We plan to liaise with MRI companies to integrate our platform directly on the scanner console. This would further reduce the workflow required to perform a complete analysis of presurgical mapping studies. We think that an alliance with such industrial partners would lead to a successful commercial product, as the proposed device covers an important gap that is currently hindering the diffusion of presurgical mapping procedures.
Sum up in two sentences the advantages of the ATTRACT Programme over other research funding schemes.
We highly appreciated the simplicity of the application/selection process and the reduced administrative load required for monitoring and reporting activities. These features greatly help to focus on the project itself. Furthermore, a real plus is the possibility to participate in the second, more challenging, selection of the ATTRACT Phase-2 programme.