December 30th 2015

MCI achieves success in medical engineering

Tyrolean Economic Chamber awards Science Prize for system to minimize radiation exposure of patients

For the second time in a row the Science Prize of the Tyrolean Economic Chamber goes to two graduates of the master program in mechatronics. This year, Thomas Gabloner and Michael Marek have been able to impress the jury with their master project in the field of medical engineering: In cooperation with the Innsbruck Medical University, the graduates have developed an innovative system for radiofrequency ablation, which considerably reduces the radiation exposure of patients during the treatment of tumors.

The method of radiofrequency ablation relies on thermal energy created through the application of radio frequency current to treat tumors. In order to destroy the tumor tissue, the RF current is delivered directly to the diseased cells via needle electrodes. The exact location where the electrodes need to be applied is determined by use of x-ray guidance. The surgeon manually places the electrodes in the predetermined location. This procedure, during which the patient is constantly exposed to radiation, takes approximately 21,2 seconds.

A method for the automated placement of electrodes, as developed by the MCI graduates Gabloner and Marek, can significantly reduce the radiation exposure of the patients during the treatment. Precise placement of the electrodes moreover guarantees that healthy tissue does not get affected. The advancement of the procedure includes the automatic generation of four images via x-rays. Once the images have been obtained, the position of the electrodes is determined within approximately 4,8 seconds on the basis of control and image processing algorithms. Thus accelerating the process of placing the electrodes, the method substantially improves the effectiveness of tumor treatment.

The Science Prize of the Tyrolean Economic Chamber is awarded to acknowledge exceptional diploma and master projects as well as dissertations which display a high degree of innovation, and present small and middle-sized enterprises with immediate application possibilities.

For Andreas Mehrle, Head of the MCI Department for Mechatronics, the award confirms the success of the degree program in Mechatronics offered at MCI: “The rewarded projects represent the broad and promising range of opportunities opening up by the study of Mechatronics. I wish to congratulate Thomas Gabloner and Michael Marek on their exceptional achievement.”

MCI Rector Andreas Altmann emphasizes: “MCI students are trained to become academic engineers, who demonstrate their ability to break down highly complex theories into practical requirements already during their studies. The award is encouragement to further develop and expand our study program in engineering in order to meet the requirements of practice.”

pdfProject Summary

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