OVGU_Stimulate_Broschuere_EN

stimulate

SOLUTION CENTRE FOR IMAGE

GUIDED LOCAL THERAPIES


STIMULATE 2 | 3

SPONSORS

PARTNERS


CONTENT

01

02

FOREWORD BY PROF.

GEORG ROSE

PAGE 6

FOREWORD BY PROF.

ARMIN WILLINGMANN

PAGE 12

03

04

STATEMENTS

PAGE 14

WHO WE ARE

PAGE 20


STIMULATE 4 | 5

05

06

07

KEY TOPICS

PAGE 24

INTERVIEW WITH PROF.

HEINZ-OTTO PEITGEN

PAGE 42

HEALTHCARE ROBOTICS

PAGE 46

08

09

10

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

PAGE 50

INFRASTRUCTURE

PAGE 54

RESEARCH GROUPS

PAGE 58


01

FOREWORD BY

PROF. DR. GEORG

ROSE


STIMULATE 6 | 7

Photo: © Stefan Berger


STIMULATE is one of nine research campuses in Germany that conduct research on various socially-relevant

topics. The application for the research campus was the result of the continuous

development and success of medical technology in research and education. The environment of

a research-oriented university hospital with an emphasis on innovative imaging applications, and

engineering faculties for which medical technology is an important area of research, made it possible

to obtain numerous grants for scientific projects in this field. Many of these projects are carried

out in cooperation with industry. This has contributed to the fact that medical technology was defined

as a transfer-oriented research priority of the Otto-von-Guericke University (OVGU) in 2010.

The STIMULATE application was selected for funding from among 96 concept submissions. It is

based on a long-term partnership between publicly-funded research and industry, which is intended

to build up sustainable structures alongside relevant research results. The annual research

funding of about 2 million Euro is supplemented by contributions from the partners of at least the

same amount. The participation of industry ensures that, in addition to strategically-oriented basic

research, application-oriented research is also carried out, which will lead to faster and more

direct product development.

STIMULATE is one of two research campuses in the field of medical technology. The second, similarly

oriented research campus is located in Mannheim and Heidelberg. In this respect, we regard

the Mannheim research campus as a strategic cooperation partner. This cooperation is particularly

visible in the preparation of the IGIC (Image-Guided Interventions Conference) conference, which

we launched in 2014.

The numerous cooperation partners (research institutions outside the university, small and medium-sized

companies) are members of the newly founded STIMULATE association. These 25

partners currently complement the thematic portfolio of OVGU and Siemens in such a way that

all the expertise required for image-guided minimally invasive therapies is available. Members of

the STIMULATE association include primed as a specialist for catheter development, Acandis and

Admedes as specialists for stent development, and KUKA as a robotics provider. The cooperation

between the university partners, Siemens and the small and medium-sized enterprises organised in

the STIMULATE association, is regulated by an extensive legal framework. The guiding principle in

its design was the programme requirement of a "partnership on an equal footing".


STIMULATE 8 | 9

STIMULATE focuses on interventional procedures in which small instruments such as needles and

catheters are applied to treat vascular diseases or tumours. This focus is motivated by the fact that

these treatment methods are less invasive for the patient than conventional treatment, i.e. open

surgery, which leads to large wounds. With the increasing number of elderly patients who are increasingly

suffering from several diseases, these methods are often the only reasonable treatment

options. At the same time, these therapies require specific technical support, whereby imaging

plays a central role in controlling and monitoring the intervention. Interventional methods are

widely applicable. In order to structure the work within the research campus, we will focus on two

clinical pictures during the first phase from 2015 to 2019: tumour diseases and vascular diseases.

The research within STIMULATE is characterised by the close cooperation between physicians who

define clinical needs and engineers, natural scientists and computer scientists who design and develop

technical and software solutions, which are then tested by the medical partners. STIMULATE

works in a disease oriented way, i.e. the technical solutions, often consisting of contributions from

different engineering fields, are tailored to solve a clinical problem in their interaction. This disease

orientation is also essential for cooperation with industry, as it develops disease oriented solutions,

such as the entire hardware and software equipment of an operating theatre for performing certain

interventions.

STIMULATE takes seriously the work "under one roof", which is another programme requirement,

because in this way the creativity and synergies during the cooperation come to the fore. The

Experimental Factory (ExFa) on the northern campus of OVGU Magdeburg contains all necessary

offices and laboratory space. Medical devices, such as a magnetic resonance tomograph,

are available for research and correspond exactly to the clinically used devices. The growth of

STIMULATE by attracting additional funding means that the ExFa has already reached its limits.

Intensive work is therefore ongoing toward a new solution. Speicher B in Magdeburg's Science

Port will soon be converted for us and tailored to our needs. The relocation is planned in the year

2019. At the same time, a private investor is preparing the neighbouring building (Speicher A) as

a commercial property for spin-offs and industrial locations. Siemens Healthineers, for example,

will be setting up a local branch there so that even closer cooperation will be possible. The establishment

of the new location for STIMULATE is an important component of our strategy to develop

sustainable structures that will shape our work far beyond the funding period. We would like to

thank the state government for providing the necessary financial resources, as well as the city of

Magdeburg and OVGU for their dedicated support and the trust they place in us.


STIMULATE has achieved a lot in the four years since the beginning of the preparatory phase.

Scientific results have been published partly in high-profile publications, including at the premier

Medical Image Computing and Computer Assisted Interventions (MICCAI) conference and in leading

journals. The BMBF's funding was supplemented by substantial additional third-party funding.

These include basic research-oriented DFG projects, business related funding from the Investment

Bank of Saxony-Anhalt and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. Particularly important

is the establishment of the "MEMoRIAL" graduate school, which will enable structured and

coordinated promotion of doctoral studies and which has started in the second quarter of 2017.

Siemens Healthineers has made the research campus possible through its commitment. Siemens is

currently primarily active in imaging diagnostics. The cooperation with STIMULATE fits into Siemens’

strategy of providing stronger support for therapy, so that the focus is increasingly on questions

of instrument development and imaging during an intervention. STIMULATE is therefore focusing

on cooperation with the Advanced Therapy division, which was founded by Siemens Healthineers.

A high-ranking and very experienced Siemens representative, PD Dr. Reiss, is a member of the

STIMULATE board of directors and, in particular, makes his Siemens network accessible to us, establishes

contacts and initiates research cooperations. Dr. Kolem, CEO of the Advanced Therapy

division, is a manager who is personally committed to the research campus. He also represents

Siemens Healthineers in the Steering Committee, so that the partnership is also reflected on an

equal footing in the top bodies of STIMULATE.

The STIMULATE association, the aggregation of small and medium-sized companies partnering

with STIMULATE in areas that Siemens does not cover, also provides important impetus for research,

supports sponsorship and especially transfer, e.g. in matters relating to the approval of

medical devices. OVGU and the Rectorate have, of course, consistently supported the research

campus from its inception. OVGU has set up the Bachelor's degree programme "Medical Technology"

and created additional professorships in this area. The professorship for "Medical Systems

Technology", the endowed professorship for catheter technologies and the junior professorship for

computer-assisted surgery are particularly important, and after 4 years of development work they

are scientifically very active.


STIMULATE 10 | 11

In times of stagnating public funds, such a focus on interventional medical

technology at the OVGU and in the participating faculties is a courageous

decision, which shows how much the participants believe in the success of

STIMULATE. We would like to thank the BMBF and the two project executing

organisations PTJ and VDI as well as Dr. Händeler, who has been very

supportive and has given us a lot of impetus, and Mr. Eulenstein, who is

responsible for the VDI's technical supervision and ongoing support. We

would like to thank the state government, which has delegated its Minister Prof. Dr. A. Willingmann

to the steering committee of the research campus and has established a series of accompanying

measures to support the growth of STIMULATE. Collaborative projects with industry, EFRE funding

and measures promoting start-ups (ego.-INCUBATORs) are particularly important. In the future,

we will also be able to address other clinical pictures, e.g. in cardiology and urology.

Prof. Georg Rose

Spokesperson of the research campus STIMULATE

OVGU Magdeburg


02

FOREWORD BY

PROF. DR. ARMIN

WILLINGMANN

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

With the research campus STIMULATE, Magdeburg belongs to the top league in the field of medical

technology - both nationally and internationally. OVGU scientists and employees of Siemens

Healthineers, many small and medium-sized enterprises and other scientific institutions are working

together to develop innovations that will improve our lives. The STIMULATE laboratories are

home to top medical-technical achievements, where medical progress is being made. The goal:

Magdeburg is to become the "German Centre for Image-Guided Medicine" with international

appeal - a real research beacon.

To this end, STIMULATE receives extensive support from the Federal Government and the State of

Saxony-Anhalt. The Magdeburg medical technology lighthouse is one of nine research campuses

in Germany funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research on a long-term basis - up

to 15 years with an annual budget of two million Euro. Saxony-Anhalt complements federal funding

and will contribute a total of ten million Euro between 2016 and 2020. The STIMULATE partners

are also contributing - with a contribution of millions of Euro. In this way, all those involved

are laying the financial foundation for top-level medical technology research in Magdeburg.


STIMULATE 12 | 13

STIMULATE exemplifies the link between public and private funding that the

state government has promoted. Entrepreneurs and researchers are working

together in Magdeburg to develop medical technology innovations that

generate growth and employment in Saxony-Anhalt. Spin-offs and settlements

are intended to give the national medical technology industry strong

impetus - initial successes are already visible. In order for others to follow,

the STIMULATE partners are also working closely with the state's Medical

and Health Technology Cluster. The research campus is also one of the leading projects of

Saxony-Anhalt's Regional Innovation Strategy.

Of course, STIMULATE is not only intended to produce economic effects. It is also of central importance

that patients benefit directly from the newly developed, minimally invasive diagnostic and

therapeutic procedures as well as medical technology innovations. For this purpose, the STIMULATE

partners cooperate closely with physicians - they define the needs, test the developed methods and

integrate them into the treatment. Of particular importance, the focus of research and development

of patient-friendly innovations is not on rare diseases, but on common, age-related diseases

such as cancer, stroke, dementia or heart attacks. And last but not least, STIMULATE also provides

scientific and practice-oriented training and further education for physicians and medical technicians.

In summary: the research campus STIMULATE is a real asset for the state of Saxony-Anhalt - and

thanks to its excellent research work it is a flagship for our business and science location. This can

also be seen on the following pages, where you will find many interesting insights into achievements,

goals and unique selling points. I hope you will read this book in depth.

Prof. Dr. Armin Willingmann

Minister for Economic Affairs,

Science and Digitisation of Saxony-Anhalt


03

STATEMENTS


STIMULATE 14 | 15

»

WHAT ROLE DOES THE RESEARCH CAMPUS PLAY FOR OVGU? OVGU HAS

SUPPORTED THE RESEARCH CAMPUS WITH NUMEROUS ACCOMPANYING

MEASURES - TO WHAT EXTENT HAVE THE ASSOCIATED EXPECTATIONS

BEEN FULFILLED?

With the establishment of the STIMULATE research campus, it was clear

that OVGU Magdeburg would strategically realign medical technology at

the interface between science and industry. The funding period of up to 15

years and the available funds offer unusually good conditions for designing

new concepts. In Magdeburg, it was important not only for Siemens

Healthineers to be the lead partner, but also for regional companies to

strengthen the country's innovation system. Political expectations are high.

We are prepared for this challenge and are pleased that the state subsidies

have been made available for the companies involved and, after a long planning

period, for a new STIMULATE building.

Cross-faculty research has a long tradition at OVGU Magdeburg. Nevertheless,

STIMULATE presented major challenges due to the design of new study programmes,

intensification of basic research and transfer. We see STIMULATE on

a very good path. The Bachelor's degree in medical technology has got off to a

very successful start, the desired appointments of professors have been completed

and we are increasingly successful in generating the necessary third-party funds.

There is certainly still potential for cooperation with clinically active colleagues, but

the University's fundamental decision to combine its very well-positioned medical

academia with parts of the engineering sciences made strategic sense. The first

companies have settled here and by reaching a critical mass, the Science Port as

part of the university campus is likely to become a regional transfer model visible

beyond Saxony-Anhalt.

Prof. Jens

Strackeljan

Rector of

OVGU Magdeburg

Photo: © Stefan Berger


»

HOW DO YOU SEE THE ROLE OF THE RESEARCH CAMPUS

AS A PARTNER FOR UNIVERSITY MEDICINE?

We have a special situation at the OVGU in Magdeburg: a predominantly

technical profile on the one hand and a medical faculty that is very active

in science on the other. This led to numerous joint activities in the field of

medical technology long before the establishment of the research campus

with its focus on image-guided interventions. Personally, for example,

I enjoy the "Virtual Anatomy" project with a relevant company and OVGU's

computer scientists.

The research campus institutionalises and consolidates this cooperation. I hope that

the research campus will result in numerous other third-party funding projects between

engineers, computer scientists, physicists and physicians, because progress in medicine

depends on this.

Prof. Herrmann-

Josef Rothkötter

Dean of the Medical

Faculty of the

OVGU Magdeburg

Photo: © University

Hospital


STIMULATE 16 | 17

»

WHAT ROLE DOES RESEARCH IN MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY PLAY FOR THE

CITY OF MAGDEBURG? WHAT EXACTLY IS THE CITY HOPING FOR FROM

THE RESEARCH CAMPUS?

STIMULATE is an excellent example of how science and research work

together with industry to find new technological solutions. This example

shows how important research institutions are for the economic development

of a region. The intensive cooperation with technology-oriented companies

and the interdisciplinary approach make STIMULATE a project that

is exemplary for future developments.

All partners involved can be proud of the fact that STIMULATE was funded

as a research campus by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The state

capital will support this project with all its might, because it is one of our strategic goals

to further develop Magdeburg as a science location.

For this purpose, the state capital city has created all the prerequisites for an expansion

of OVGU's campus with the Science Port. Here, an area is being developed in

which successful cooperation between science and industry will lead to the creation

of new jobs.

Dr. Lutz Trümper

Lord Mayor of the

state capital

Magdeburg

Photo: © City of

Magdeburg


»

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO ESTABLISH A BRANCH OFFICE IN MAGDEBURG?

WHAT PERSPECTIVES DO YOU SEE IN WORKING TOGETHER WITH THE

RESEARCH CAMPUS?

The settlement in Magdeburg and the associated proximity to the research

campus STIMULATE offers ACES Ing.-GmbH access to highly qualified

specialists in a highly specialised sector. Through close cooperation with

the various university institutions of the STIMULATE research campus, our

research efforts are on an equal footing with considerably larger competitors

in our sector, which will have a lasting positive impact on our competitiveness

and our pace of innovation. In times of global competition, it is

essential to concentrate competences in order to be at the top of the world.

Diplom-Ing. (FH)

Frank Thilo

Trautwein

Managing Director of

ACES Ing. -GmbH

Photo: © Aces Ing.

-GmbH


STIMULATE 18 | 19

»

WHY IS SIEMENS INVOLVED IN THE RESEARCH CAMPUS? HOW DO YOU

SEE THE OPPORTUNITIES OF THE LOCATION MAGDEBURG TO GAIN

VISIBILITY IN MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH? HOW DO YOU SEE THE

FOCUS ON INTERVENTIONAL TECHNIQUES?

Siemens Healthineers has decided to become involved with STIMULATE

because the topics outlined there are regarded as forward-looking growth

areas in medicine and medical technology. In general, there are many visionary

voices predicting that classical surgery will increasingly be replaced in

the coming decades by minimally invasive techniques incorporating specific

imaging and robotics. For this reason, it makes strategic sense for Siemens

Healthineers to accompany this field with leading institutions at an early

stage and to become involved.

There are only a few institutions in the world that have begun to develop this vision of

minimally invasive surgery on a larger scale. In Europe, for example, we see the locations

in Magdeburg, Strasbourg and Mannheim. Magdeburg has some specific advantages:

• The possibility to develop new applications holistically from concept to large animal

models and first human applications. For this reason, Siemens Healthineers

decided to test the first ultrasound angio-fusion models in Magdeburg.

• In Magdeburg, the technology (engineering sciences and other institutes with a

deep technical background) is strongly and broadly represented.

• There is a strong willingness to work together, which can have a positive impact

on results and product development.

Dr. Heinrich Kolem

CEO of the Advanced

Therapies

Business Unit,

Siemens

Healthineers

Photo: © Harald Krieg


04

WHO WE ARE


STIMULATE 20 | 21

»

RESEARCH FOR HUMAN HEALTH

Only a small stitch is necessary. Instead of opening the abdominal or chest area over a large area,

doctors are now working increasingly with interventional methods. The surgeon observes the operating

field inside the patient on the monitor. The methods and possibilities are developing rapidly and are

constantly expanding. Imaging methods such as X-ray fluoroscopy, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

and computer tomography (CT) play a key role in this process.

At the medical technology research campus STIMULATE, engineers and physicians together with companies

are investigating new technologies for image-guided minimally invasive diagnoses and therapies.

The aim is to further develop the methods in such a way that they can also be applied to diseases

for which this is not yet possible. The advantages of the minimally invasive techniques are obvious:

the patient recovers more quickly after the surgery and can often leave the hospital after only a few

days - some interventions can even be performed on an outpatient basis - and is able to return to work

more quickly.

Until now, the doctor has usually used small cameras attached to the surgical instruments during a

minimally invasive procedure. But the images produced in this way are insufficient for many forms

of therapy. Imaging procedures such as MRI, CT or ultrasound enable doctors not only to keep an

eye on a small section of the operating field, but also to orientate themselves over a large area and

to steer and control the instruments very precisely. However, interventions are hardly possible in the

narrow gantry of an MRI or CT machine. STIMULATE is therefore also investigating new concepts for

improving patient access.

STIMULATE focuses on the treatment of cancer, cerebral vascular diseases and diseases of the cardiovascular

system. They are among the most common life-threatening diseases in Western industrialised

countries and are therefore highly relevant to society. In addition, the risk of these diseases increases

with age. As more and more people reach a high age, the number of patients requiring appropriate

therapy is increasing.

Photo left:

Due to its precision

and reliability, the

robot can support

the physician during

surgery. A prototype

is shown for use in

operations on the

spine.

Photo: © Harald Krieg


» » »

In the research campus STIMULATE, partners from science and industry have joined forces to

address the questions arising in clinical practice and to explore and develop new treatment concepts,

procedures, services and products. The public-private partnership is supported by OVGU

Magdeburg, Siemens Healthcare GmbH and the STIMULATE Association, which consists of more

than 20 companies and scientific players and is constantly being expanded by further cooperation

partners.

Since 2013, STIMULATE has been funded by the Federal Ministry of Education

and Research as one of nine research campus projects in the programme

"Research Campus - Public-Private Partnership for Innovations".

Unlike a "normal" research project, cooperation with industry plays a central

role here. The research campus is also very long-term. The time is to be

used to build up sustainable structures. The goal is ambitious: STIMULATE

will grow to an international reference centre and establish itself as the

"German Centre for Image-Guided Medicine".

The researchers and engineers are currently working together on several

projects to achieve this goal. In doing so, they focus on clinical scenarios in

which image-supported minimally invasive therapies are used. Like cancer.

At present, image-supported minimally invasive therapy is predominantly used palliatively to alleviate

the suffering of patients and prolong their lives. The aim of STIMULATE is to further develop

therapies in such a way that they also make it possible to cure cancer. This involves designing the

operating room in such a way that doctors have free access to the patient and at the same time

expanding external imaging in such a way that doctors can see exactly how well the tumour has

been destroyed. Research also focuses on robotics. The high-precision control of a robot arm

should enable instruments to be inserted into tumours of the spinal column with millimetre precision

and destroyed by heating without damaging the adjacent spinal cord.

For the emergency care of stroke and aneurysm patients, an interdisciplinary research team is

developing an interventional operating room to ensure rapid and effective initial treatment,


ecause in the case of strokes suffered by around 270,000 people in Germany

every year, "time is brain" applies. The faster a stroke patient can be

treated, the greater the likelihood that the brain will not suffer any permanent

damage. However, much valuable time is lost between diagnosis and

therapy. For this reason, STIMULATE is investigating the processes, structures

and technical prerequisites that are necessary to enable diagnosis and

therapy to be carried out more quickly and by means of catheters on one

imaging device. The scientists are optimizing the X-ray angiography system in the operating room,

which is expected to deliver images of similar high quality as a CT scan and can therefore also be

used for stroke diagnosis.

Despite these developments, there will still be patients in the future who only survive a stroke with

severe brain damage. STIMULATE is investigating how brain-controlled prostheses can help them.

In a minimally invasive approach, electrodes are implanted into the brain to record nerve impulses,

from which control signals for the prostheses are calculated.

International cutting-edge research, the training and further education of physicians and medical

technicians as well as the transfer of the developed technologies and their clinical testing are the

cornerstones of the research campus STIMULATE. Basic research and the linking of medicine and

engineering provide the basis for the development of new medical products. The first successes

are already visible: With MedWaves, Inc. from the USA and ACES from Filderstadt, two companies

have settled on the research campus, and a first major spin-off with start-up capital worth millions

is about to start. The first steps on the way from STIMULATE to the "German Centre for Image-

Guided Medicine" have been taken.

STIMULATE 22 | 23


05

STIMULATE

24 | 25

KEY TOPICS

» Understanding and correctly interpreting

brain signals

» Stroke: time is brain

» Radiological interventions in the MRI gantry

» Robotics

Photo: © Harald Krieg


UNDERSTANDING

AND CORRECTLY

INTERPRETING

BRAIN SIGNALS


STIMULATE 26 | 27

»

THE RESEARCH OBJECTIVE IS A COMMUNICATION SYSTEM

BETWEEN BRAIN AND MACHINE

Paralysis is one of the dramatic consequences of many neurological diseases.

It often occurs as a result of a stroke. The affected areas of the brain then no

longer send signals to the extremities. "However, the brain can compensate

for such failures by forming new nerve cells and synapses, and redistribute

the tasks," says STIMULATE scientist Tim Pfeiffer. The physicist stresses, "The

measurement and analysis of brain signals and their correct interpretation is the subject of current

research.”

Dr. Christoph Reichert from the Leibniz Institute of Neurobiology in Magdeburg is in no doubt

about that. The computer scientist uses a magnetoencephalograph (MEG) to measure the magnetic

fields generated in the human brain by neuronal activity, i.e. by the "language of the nerves".

"If these MEG data were combined with EEG measurements of electrical activity, one could learn

more and more about brain activity," says Christoph Reichert.

The physicist, the computer scientist and their STIMULATE team conduct basic research to improve

a brain-machine interface (BMI). "When the patient concentrates strongly on the movement of

the paralysed arm," explains Tim Pfeiffer, "this idea generates signals in the brain. The BMI device

should detect when the patient tries to move the paralysed arm. A specially developed training

device performs this movement simultaneously - again and again until the nerve connections

between arm and brain are rebuilt".

Left picture

Experiments to

control a virtual

robot arm by means

of thoughts; subject

(front) and supervisor

(rear).

Right picture

EEG electrode cap

for measuring brain

activity; brain-controlled

virtual robot

arm (background).

Photos: © Harald Krieg


The research of STIMULATE is even more advanced. The long-term goal is a communication

system between brain and machine that does not depend on peripheral nerves and muscles. In

the case of paralysis or amputation of an arm, for example, these usual signal paths no longer

function or exist. The scientists also want prostheses to be controlled by the patient's brain signals.

The BMI device has the task of analysing the signals from the brain and converting the information

into control commands for external applications, for example for a gripping robot. The BMI

device replaces the nerves and muscles by directly activating the artificial arm with the electrophysiological

signals of the brain.

In the beginning, STIMULATE scientists use non-invasive techniques that do not require surgery.

Since these measurement techniques reveal significantly less information than invasive procedures,

the vision of the research team is to provide the system with additional information from

outside in the future. For example, an integrated camera could tell the system that a bottle is

on the table. Pressure sensors could provide information about weight or material properties.

Mathematical models are calculated from the internal and external signals, and algorithms are

developed with which the system is controlled semi-autonomously.

The area of expertise of Christoph Reichert is machine learning: an artificially intelligent system

learns from example data. It recognises patterns in them with which it can classify unknown data.

Tim Pfeiffer is doing his PhD in the field of analysis and classification of brain signals. On the

basis of algorithms from automatic speech recognition, he says, it is possible to understand brain

waves. Returning to the quality of the measured data, he says, "There is a lot of background noise

in the brain. Therefore, in addition to optimising existing algorithms, we will develop new methods

for classifying signals".


STIMULATE 28 | 29

»

STATEMENT:

"Beyond the immediate value of patient care, research in the field of BMI

neuroscience is of great interest because it allows the interaction of brain

activity and feedback (e.g. visually, as a moving prosthesis) to observe and

model processes of neuronal plasticity and implicit learning, which among

other things contributes to the understanding of other neurological diseases.”

» » »

Prof. Hermann

Hinrichs

Department of

Neurology,

OVGU Magdeburg

Photo: © University Clinic


STROKE:

TIME IS BRAIN


STIMULATE 30 | 31

»

THE AIM OF THE RESEARCH: DIAGNOSIS AND THERAPY

ON THE SAME DEVICE

The drama is in the title: "Stroke". At one stroke, the patient's life changes - in

the worst case, it's over. "About 85 percent of strokes are caused by occlusion

of a blood vessel," says Dr. Oliver Beuing, Senior Physician at the Institute

of Neuroradiology at Magdeburg University Hospital. He holds a closed

tube against the light. The corpus delicti floats in a solution: a blood clot.

Minimally invasive methods for the removal of such clots use aspiration or a stent retriever. This is a

self-expanding tube that pulls the clot out of the blood vessel. "However, it can be difficult to navigate

the instruments to the occlusions in the brain or remove the clot. The success rate is 75 to 80

percent," says Oliver Beuing. The STIMULATE research campus therefore develops technical solutions

for precise instrument positioning and effective treatment. "We need excellent vascular imaging to get

the catheters to the diseased part of the brain vessel at low risk," says the clinician. He is an important

partner for STIMULATE's medical engineers. In the radiology department of the University Hospital,

he uses an angiography facility that is similar to the one in which STIMULATE scientists and engineers

implement their ideas. The angiography system delivers extremely sharp 2D and 3D images from

inside the patient.

STIMULATE employee Thomas Hoffmann commutes between the two laboratories. He is the link in

persona when it comes to integrating technical solutions into clinical practice.

A major goal of the joint research is called "one-stop-shop": all necessary steps, including diagnostics

and therapy, should be performed in one place, namely the operating room. Because every minute

counts. Stroke treatment is most effective in the first 180 minutes after the onset of symptoms. The

principle "time is brain" applies. At least 15 valuable minutes are gained if all necessary diagnostic

measures are performed on the device that is also used for therapy in the operating room.

Left picture

CT scan of a model

to evaluate a novel

method for correcting

image artefacts

caused by metal

implants.

Right picture

CT image of perfusion

of a model brain

layer using an angiographic

C-Arm.

Photos: © Harald Krieg


This is the so-called C-Arm, which can move around the patient and take

X-rays from many directions. These images are ideal for controlling the procedure.

However, it is also possible to calculate 3D datasets from these images,

as normally created by a computer tomograph. These images are, so far, not

of sufficient quality for the diagnosis of a stroke. STIMULATE aims to improve

this image quality in such a way that a complete diagnosis is possible in the

operating room. "One reason for the insufficient image quality is movement

of the patient's head during recording, which leads to severe disturbances.

The method we have developed analyses and corrects the movements and

eliminates these disturbances," explains Robert Frysch. "The research results of the medical engineers

are also of great importance for the diagnosis and treatment of aneurysms," adds the neuroradiologist.

He mentions stent placement or the insertion of an implant into the diseased vessel as therapy

options. "To help us decide how to treat an aneurysm, we are developing simulation and visualization

software, among other things. It considers patient-specific conditions and calculates the ideal

treatment strategy," explains Dr. Oliver Beuing. During interventions on humans, the software can

improve the visibility of implants and thus increase safety.

Picture

New interaction

method for the control

of the imaging

software in the

operating room.

Photo: © Harald Krieg


STIMULATE 32 | 33


RADIOLOGICAL

INTERVENTIONS IN

THE MRI GANTRY


STIMULATE 34 | 35

»

FOCUS OF THE RESEARCH: SHARP IMAGES, SAFE INSTRUMENT TRACKING,

OPTIMAL PATIENT POSITIONING

"Our patients are getting older and older and many of them are diagnosed

with cancer", says Prof. Wacker, Director of Radiology at the Hanover Medical

School. "The elderly patients in particular benefit from minimally invasive,

image-guided precision therapies that are safe and effective and require only

a short hospital stay. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), hitherto little used

in this field, is an ideal modality for supporting minimally invasive procedures, especially in the field

of oncology, due to its excellent soft tissue contrast and the ability to show blood circulation as well

as heat development.

Dr. Urte Kägebein shows an MRI image: "The tumour in the liver is very well visible. The high image

quality is a result of magnetic resonance imaging," says the electrical engineering graduate. As a

result, not only can diagnostics in the MRI gantry be performed, but also the treatment. The research

teams of Urte Kägebein and Enrico Pannicke will contribute to the removal of a liver tumour as

shown in this picture by a minimally invasive MRI procedure.

The STIMULATE research groups still have some milestones ahead of them. One is real-time imaging.

This is almost achieved with three images per second, says Urte Kägebein. The problem, however,

is the image contrast in real time. The grey tone sometimes makes it difficult to distinguish the

tumour from the other tissue structures. The physicists and engineers at STIMULATE develop software

and hardware components that enable continuous MR guidance and can be integrated into any

MRI device.

Left picture

High-resolution and

radiation-free MRI

scanners are to be developed

in STIMULATE

for curative minimally

invasive local therapies

of liver tumours.

Right picture

The surgeon's interaction

with the MRI is

greatly simplified by

using the optical Moiré

Phase tracking system

on the needle.

Photos: © Harald Krieg


Another milestone is a novel intuitive instrument tracking method. After all, the instruments are to

be safely navigated through the human body and precisely positioned at their target point. “Our

idea is a tracking system with optical Moiré Phase markers”, says the scientist, who explains: "The

Moiré patterns can be compared with lenticular images. They change their appearance with minimal

rotation. The position and orientation of the markers can be measured by a camera inside the

MRI gantry and used to control the MRI image acquisition. When the needle is moved, for example,

through the patient's breathing, the imaging plane follows the movement."

The ablation probes, which are used for the novel local heat therapy of the liver tumor, are to

be guided in this manner. During heat therapy, microwaves heat the tumour from the inside. The

problem: the blood in the blood vessels transports the heat away from the tumour, so that it partially

cools down again.

“The ablation needle can only measure the temperature at its tip. In order to achieve complete

thermometry during the procedure, we would like to use the MRI device itself as a temperature

measuring device," says Dr. Urte Kägebein, naming another milestone. To take the liver as an

example: MRI technology offers a unique opportunity to measure physical parameters such as the

elasticity of liver tissue or temperature distribution. With the help of software developed in-house,

this information would merge with that of the ablation needle to form an image.

“In contrast to diagnostics, additional equipment is needed for the treatment inside the MRI gantry,

as well as medical staff working close to the patient. But the space in the gantry is and remains

limited," says Enrico Pannicke, drawing attention to the challenges posed by individual technical

developments: finding solutions that eliminate the additional power cables, that meet the sterility

demands of an operation, that improve access to the patient, that optimise patient positioning...

The engineers focus on the modular design of a patient table that meets the different scenarios of

an intervention. “It is important,” says Enrico Pannicke, "to ensure that the electronic components

operate in a strong magnetic field and do not interfere with the sensitive measuring system of the

MRI."


STIMULATE 36 | 37

»

STATEMENT:

“MRI combines unrivalled tissue contrast with the unique possibility of

monitoring therapy during treatment and can thus significantly improves

minimally invasive tumour therapy as a curative method. Challenges are

the restricted access to the patient, the interaction between physician and

MRI device and an acceleration of the image acquisition. The STIMULATE

team has a strong expertise in these areas, has highly motivated physicians

and engineers and will bring MRI-guided tumour therapy to the patients'

daily clinical life for the benefit of the patients."

» » »

Prof. Oliver Speck

Institute for Experimental

Physics of the

OVGU Magdeburg

Photo: © Harald Krieg


ROBOTICS


STIMULATE 38 | 39

»

"MORE AND MORE SURGEONS WANT A RELIABLE AND PRECISE ROBOT

AS AN ASSISTANT FOR COMPLEX INTERVENTIONS," SAYS PROF. NORBERT

ELKMANN, HEAD OF THE ROBOTIC SYSTEMS BUSINESS UNIT AT FRAUN-

HOFER IFF IN MAGDEBURG.

As a STIMULATE research partner, the IFF together with OVGU partners in

the Robotics Research Group are developing new technologies for the efficient

use of future medical robots. The scientist shows CT images of spinal

tumours in which a radiofrequency ablation needle has to be inserted in

order to heat and destroy the tumour. The big challenge: the needle must reach the tumour very

precisely and must not injure spinal nerves on its way. In order to ensure this, the robot supports the

intervention by means of precisely guided movements, thus improving precision and ergonomics.

Intuitive interaction and safe cooperation between humans and robots are at the forefront of the

developments of the IFF research team. In contrast to the classic industrial robot, the assistance

robot at the operating table will share the tasks and thus the workspace of the doctor - and must

therefore be safe and adapt autonomously to the dynamic environment. The robot movement

at the operating table cannot be determined in advance as with robots in industry," says Norbert

Elkmann. For this reason, the medical robot will be equipped with intelligent basic skills as part of

the project. According to Magnus Hanses, PhD student at Fraunhofer IFF, the robot must not be

dangerous for patients or medical staff. In addition, medical robots have to guarantee a continuous

functional availability, e. g. for the manual guidance of the robot. For this purpose, the IFF is

developing a new control architecture that combines motion generation with the concept of an additional,

forward-looking safety layer.

Prof. Rolf Findeisen's team also comes into play when it comes to equipping the robot with the

necessary sensitivity. The scientists at the Institute for Automation Engineering take the motivation

for their research from just such application requirements: they develop algorithms that dynamically

influence the behaviour of the robot. Just like the professor's arm, which lifts a full bottle from

Left picture

Hand-held assistance

robot for high-precision

instrument

placement.

Right picture

Guiding aid to support

the placement of

instruments.

Photos: © Harald Krieg


Picture

If the robot is to help

during surgery, it

must adapt to the

patient's breathing

movement. The

development of

appropriate methods

requires close interdisciplinary

teamwork

between computer

science and control

engineering.

the table, pours water into a glass and puts the emptied bottle down again,

the robot arm should also adjust its forces to the situation when it guides

the trocar, a puncture instrument used for example in minimally invasive

surgery, through different bone and tissue structures. It is intended to assist

the surgeon precisely at the feed and placement of the needle. “It should

even act with foresight and find the best possible decisions when it comes

to compensating for the patient's movements during breathing," said the scientist.

In order to guarantee this, Professor Frank Ortmeier from the Faculty

of Computer Science develops methods to find the optimal positions of the

robot arm - in which posture it can be strong, in which position it can be sensitive, in which position

it can be precise. Optimal search methods similar to route calculation are used in a navigation

system. "Our vision is that the robotic arm will continuously and proactively position itself in the

right position, analogous to a human assistant who supports the doctor during the procedure as

little as possible."

Photo: © Harald Krieg


STIMULATE 40 | 41

»

STATEMENT:

"Robots are characterised by their high precision and, combined with force

sensors, great sensitivity. Especially in medical robotics, these strengths can

be used for the benefit of patients and surgeons. The challenges are many

and diverse: the direct spatial interaction between humans and robots creates

new requirements in terms of safety and intuitive interaction, and the

robot must also possess a wide range of intelligent basic skills".

» » »

Prof. Norbert

Elkmann

Fraunhofer IFF

Magdeburg

Photo: © Harald Krieg


06

INTERVIEW WITH

PROF. HEINZ-

OTTO PEITGEN


STIMULATE 42 | 43

»

YOU ARE INVOLVED IN THE ADVISORY BOARD OF THE RESEARCH CAM-

PUS. WHAT ROLE DO YOU PLAY AND HOW CAN YOU INFLUENCE THE

DEVELOPMENT?

I see my role as a sparring partner in consultative discussions about projects

and evaluation of their success, as well as in the medium- and long-term

strategy of the campus.

»

THE RESEARCH CAMPUS STIMULATE IS ORGANISED AS A PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP. HOW

DO YOU SEE THE STRENGTHS AND OPPORTUNITIES OF THIS COOPERATION BETWEEN SCIENCE

AND BUSINESS?

In addition to scientific excellence, STIMULATE is constantly called upon to keep an eye on the

impact for industry and the health care system and to monitor developments with priority, which

are expected to have a major impact.

»

THE LONG-TERM GOAL OF THE RESEARCH CAMPUS STIMULATE IS TO BUILD UP SUSTAINABLE

STRUCTURES, IN PARTICULAR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A GERMAN CENTRE FOR IMAGE-GUIDED

MEDICINE. WHAT IS NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE THIS AMBITIOUS GOAL?

What is needed is a gradual development towards an institution characterised by strong internal

coherence in the organisation of research and development, which is able to sustain

itself and develop far beyond 50% through third-party funding and industrial contracts.

Prof. Heinz-

Otto Peitgen

Research areas:

fractals and 3D

visualization for

medicine.

Photo: © Jacobs,

University Bremen


»

WHAT IS YOUR ASSESSMENT OF THE RESEARCH CAMPUS STIMULATE?

The acquisition of the research campus is a great success for the OVGU, which decided to focus

on medical technology as a highly promising area of research. STIMULATE deals with current and

clinically relevant topics. The focus on interventional techniques is up-to-date and the team is well

prepared for the current challenges thanks to the preparatory work in imaging, instrument development

and computer-aided intervention planning. After a successful start-up phase, substantial

developments can now be carried out with a clear focus on the four main themes.

»

HOW COULD THE RESEARCH CAMPUS STIMULATE BECOME EVEN MORE VISIBLE?

After the first years of establishment, engineers and computer scientists could concentrate on expanding

their network. The expansion relates to clinical and industrial cooperation. The best possible

local cooperation partners are not the best possible partners for every clinical problem dealt

with; in some cases, the best partners are not even in Germany. Siemens, as the main industrial

partner, has made the research campus possible and will remain the most important industrial

partner, but again, targeted contacts with other partners are required in order to implement sophisticated

solutions. Stronger networking would make it possible to work on larger projects efficiently

and in a distributed manner.

»

WHAT CHANGES IN CONTENT ARE TO BE EXPECTED?

There are some macrotrends relevant to STIMULATE that need to be carefully considered. The

current massive increase in digitisation is comprehensive, and its effects on processes, including

in medicine, are revolutionary. Artificial intelligence - especially in its most important form at the

moment, deep learning - makes many diagnostic questions in principle automatically solvable.


STIMULATE 44 | 45

Consideration must be given to how deep learning influences therapy planning

or monitoring.

Sensor development is a similarly important trend: sensors are getting smaller

and cheaper. It will therefore be possible to use them in large numbers to

obtain a wide range of information about the patient and the position of

instruments. The sensors are also strongly integrated and networked via the

Internet of Things. MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems), which consist

of the smallest mechanical structures and logic elements, have great potential for innovative approaches.

The consequences for the support during an operation would have to be considered.

In software development, agile development methods have been very successful in recent years; the productivity

of many teams has grown by a factor of 2 to 5. This development also influences management,

which also needs to be more agile, i.e. less oriented towards detailed specifications and other complex

documentation.

The dynamics created by these trends open up new areas of activity.

»

HOW SHOULD STIMULATE RESPOND TO THESE TRENDS ORGANISATIONALLY?

The great success achieved with the acquisition of the research campus would have to be preserved in

the long term. This includes the creation of structures that make it possible to engage top performers with

extensive know-how on a permanent basis. Basic funding of the research campus by the state or university

is essential. Freedom should be created to gain experience with new technologies and to initiate

and implement visionary projects. At the other end of the spectrum, STIMULATE must intensively strive to

attract industrial projects.


07

STIMULATE

46 | 47

HEALTHCARE

ROBOTICS

Photo: © KUKA

Roboter GmbH


HEALTHCARE ROBOTICS UNDER ONE ROOF

KUKA@STIMULATE: ROBOT-SUPPORTED ASSISTANCE SYSTEMS IN THE OR

KUKA is a world leader in the use of robots in medical technology. KUKA

Medical Robotics have been involved with STIMULATE from the very beginning.

Michael Otto, Vice President of the Medical Robotics and Advanced

Robotics Division, and Cyrill von Tiesenhausen, Business Development

Manager for this division, explain why and what makes robots so special

in medical technology.

»

WHY IS KUKA MEDICAL ROBOTICS INVOLVED IN STIMULATE AND HOW

DID IT COME ABOUT?

von Tiesenhausen: KUKA is a member of the STIMULATE association because we are interested

in the applied research of the interdisciplinary team. There are engineers who develop new technologies

and physicians who want to use these technologies clinically. Our partner in Magdeburg

is above all the Otto-von-Guericke-University, but also the hospitals, the Fraunhofer IFF with

which we have been connected for a long time, and Siemens. The other companies involved in

the STIMULATE association are also interesting for us.

Dr. Cyrill von

Tiesenhausen

Business Development

Manager

Otto: Two years ago, the KUKA Medical Team (consisting of R&D and business development) was

trained in Magdeburg at the hospital as part of a training course, where it was given hands-on

experience of clinical procedures and current problems. We also support the annual conference

(IGIC), which takes place in alternation with Mannheim. Today the team consists of 40 employees,

many of whom come from medical technology research. Our aim is to bring together the

fields of healthcare, medical robotics and cooperation between human-robot-patient-physicians.

Photo: © KUKA

Roboter GmbH


STIMULATE 48 | 49

von Tiesenhausen: Today, the ExFa offers not only the necessary workrooms and laboratory

space in close proximity to the clinics, but also all medical equipment for image-guided minimally

invasive therapies, which correspond exactly to the clinically used devices and are available for

research purposes alone. In this way, the participants can quickly get closer

to the practical questions and can be tested immediately for their clinical

suitability for everyday use.

»

WHICH ROBOTS ARE INVOLVED IN THE FIELD OF MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY?

Otto: With the ARTIS pheno, Siemens has launched a new robot-supported

angiography system on the market whose motorised core is a KUKA robot

for high payloads from the KR QUANTEC series with the KR C4 control

system. In the last few years we have adapted and extended this solution

for clinical applications. It automatically moves around the patient.

In addition, the new LBR Med should be mentioned, which is specifically aimed at small companies

that do not have the capacity to produce all the necessary registration documents themselves.

The included CB report according to IEC 60601-1 helps here.

»

WHAT DO YOU SEE IN THE FUTURE OF STIMULATE?

von Tiesenhausen: The greatest challenge in medical robotics is to implement innovations in such

a way that they can be used in everyday clinical practice. STIMULATE offers an excellent environment

to overcome this hurdle in the future and to test new methods.

Michael Otto

Vice President Division

Medical Robotics and

Advanced Robotics

Photo: © KUKA

Roboter GmbH


08

TECHNOLOGY

TRANSFER


STIMULATE 50 | 51

»

STIMULATE VITALISES THE RESEARCH SITE MAGDEBURG

SERVICE GROUP PROMOTES KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

Bringing scientific solutions and innovations to practical implementation is the concern of the "Service Group

Transfer" of the research campus STIMULATE. Under the leadership of the engineer Dr. Mandy Kaiser, a

network is being set up to intensify the exchange between industry and research, in both directions. “After

all, STIMULATE is supposed to generate positive economic effects," explains Mandy Kaiser.

The results of scientific work are to be applied in practice. In return, however, practitioners should

also define their technical requirements. "Bidirectional transfer" is what Mandy Kaiser calls this

exchange. This is a win-win situation for all parties involved, which is achieved through third-party

funded projects with industrial partners. The advantages are obvious: industry and scientific institutions

jointly carry out application-oriented research at STIMULATE and develop the corresponding

solution, which is then tested by medical practitioners.

A good example of how bidirectional transfer works is the technique developed at the STIMULATE

research campus for image correction in C-Arm imaging. Behind this bulky term is a procedure with

a robot-supported X-ray system - a so-called C-Arm - which moves around the patient and takes

X-ray images from many directions. In practice, however, patient movements, such as breathing,

cause undesirable image distortion. The research group "C-Arm Imaging" has therefore developed

a procedure to correct these distortions. “This is important for the assessment of cerebral haemorrhage

in stroke and for determining the subsequent treatment path," explains Dr. Mandy Kaiser.

The developed method has been clinically evaluated in the research campus and is now being

integrated by Siemens into its current research prototypes of the C-Arm software.

Within STIMULATE, a procedure for the reproducible measurement of the radiopaque visibility

of intravascular implants was developed. From these results, a service for the evaluation of such

implants was derived, which has already been used by implant manufacturers. This method has

already been introduced into the DIN standards committee for catheters and drains and has the

Dr. Mandy Kaiser

Chair of Medical Telematics

and Medical

Technology at OVGU

Magdeburg

Photo: © Stefan Berger


potential to become the future standard method.

Saxony-Anhalt has long recognised the innovative potential of closely interlinking companies and

research institutions in medical technology. The state has declared the healthcare and medical

industries to be one of its leading markets for innovation. In order to make better use of the existing

potentials, the Medical and Health Technology Cluster offers a platform on which medical

technology companies and research institutions of the state meet to promote knowledge transfer

and development cooperation. Dr. Mandy Kaiser, who represents the interests of STIMULATE on the

cluster's board, also knows that the opportunities offered by the cooperation

between scientists and medium-sized companies, between engineers and

physicians in Saxony-Anhalt, are something special throughout Germany.

These excellent professional conditions in Saxony-Anhalt also make education

attractive. A Bachelor's degree course in Medical Technology is offered

at the university, which now ranks second on the engineering sciences'

popularity scale. The Master's degree course in Medical Systems Engineering,

which was introduced in 2008, is a guarantee for the training of

further specialists in Saxony-Anhalt and attracts students from all over the

world to the city.

Graduates and students have the opportunity to set up their own companies during or after their

studies. Neoscan Solutions GmbH was founded in March 2017 in the vicinity of the research

campus with the aim of developing magnetic resonance tomographs especially for infants. In order

to promote further spin-offs, students, research assistants or graduates should be supported in the

realisation of their ideas and take the first steps towards self-employment in a practical environment.

At OVGU, the state-sponsored ego-incubators were set up specifically for this purpose. The

foundation laboratory for flexible electronics, FLEXtronic, offers students the opportunity to develop

their ideas into prototypes. The INNOLAB IGT (Image Guided Therapies) was established at the

University Hospital Magdeburg in 2016 and is intended to promote the development of innovative

instruments and devices in cooperation with the medical professions. In addition to the goal

of exploiting innovative potential and promoting the start-up mentality of young scientists, spin-offs

bind fully trained specialists to the region.


STIMULATE 52 | 53

However, it is not only the student community that benefits from the STIMULATE research campus.

In cooperation with the physicians, the scientific staff offers training modules and further education

courses, for example in medical imaging.

Equally important to the team around Dr. Mandy Kaiser is to present research results to a broad

public beyond the laboratory boundaries. For this reason, STIMULATE's work will be presented to a

broad public at the annual "Long Night of Science". In addition, the ExFa regularly hosts groups of

school children under the heading "Hands-on medical technology". In this way,

in addition to the teaching of technical content, there is also the opportunity to

recruit young people for medical technology studies.

For Dr. Mandy Kaiser, the work in the "Transfer Service Group" means setting

up collaborative projects, acquiring funding for the financing of further

research projects and accompanying start-ups. She promotes STIMULATE at

conferences and trade fairs. Initial successes have been achieved. ACES, an

engineering consulting and service company specialising in medical technology,

has moved from Filderstadt near Stuttgart to Magdeburg. The company is

hoping that its proximity to the university and its cooperation with STIMULATE

will boost innovation.

MedWaves, Inc. from San Diego also sees such advantages. The American medical technology

company produces probes that thermally destroy tumours and founded a branch in Magdeburg

at the end of 2016. A joint research project with the company is currently being prepared. “Such

settlements,” says Dr. Mandy Kaiser, “make STIMULATE attractive for other companies and research

institutions that see advantages in the proximity of the campus, for example, in the intensive exchange

and joint handling of research activities.”


09

INFRASTRUCTURE


STIMULATE 54 | 55

Photo: © Harald Krieg


»

FROM RESEARCH TO PRODUCT

» » »

The laboratories of the research campus are equipped with state-of-the-art large-scale medical

equipment used by scientists and cooperation partners. In this way, the researchers can experiment

under conditions close to the clinic and develop tailor-made solutions for the various medical

questions. The patient-free operation makes it possible to reliably plan and carry out extensive

experimental studies and investigations. A fact that is also attractive for the cooperating partners

from industry and science, as in the clinics, the corresponding equipment is fully utilised for treating

patients. At the research campus, doctors and medical technicians are trained and educated

on the devices. The students of the growing Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes in medical

technology also use the devices, to acquire knowledge about their function.

In the STIMULATE angiography laboratory, the researchers have a flexible X-ray unit mounted on

a robot arm, which is typically used for screening the patient in the operating room. The so-called

flat-panel detector X-ray C-Arm can take projection images from different perspectives and even

offers CT functionality, i.e. the acquisition of high-precision sectional images. At the research

campus, the scientists are investigating and developing ways of improving imaging in minimally

invasive surgery with the combined X-ray/CT device and thus applying it to new forms of therapy.

At the same time, the device forms the basis for new techniques of diagnosis and therapy of

strokes and aneurysms and for robot-assisted therapies of tumours of the spinal column.

The second core of the research campus' laboratories is the MRI device, which is also available

exclusively for research purposes. The device has an unusually large diameter of 70 centimetres -

ideal conditions for carrying out image-guided interventions within the gantry. Based on MRI, the

researchers are developing a high-tech operating room for the diagnosis and therapy of tumours

of the liver and other abdominal organs.


STIMULATE 56 | 57

In the medical technology development laboratory, employees have access

to workstations with electrical measuring technology, soldering tools,

equipment for material testing and microscopes as well as sterile workstations.

Here, surgical instruments and control units for the interaction of the

various high-tech devices in the operating room are developed.

Many questions of image-based minimally invasive medicine require not

only medical, but also mathematical and theoretical understanding of the

underlying processes. Interdisciplinary research is one of the cornerstones of

STIMULATE. Engineers, physicists and computer scientists simulate the individual

blood flow of a patient and visualise it in an appropriate way on the

screen, reconstruct layered images from simple projection images or extract

from the seemingly chaotic brain signals the patient's intention to control his

or her wheelchair. Computer scientists develop solutions that make it easier

for the operating physicians to control the highly complex medical machines.

Until now, they have been dependent on assistants to whom instructions are called out during the

intervention, or else they have operated control elements themselves at the operating table. This

could change in the future with new operating concepts: Leap Motion and gesture input are the

keywords that will enable doctors to control their machines precisely and intuitively by means of

hand signals. Voice control is also conceivable, provided the operating room conditions allow it.

Conversely, the reliable communication of the device with the physician is also the subject of

investigation. For example, organs can be projected onto the abdominal wall so that the doctor

can better orientate himself during a minimally invasive procedure. This computer-assisted augmented

reality, which is also possible via data goggles, is one of the computer scientists' research

topics.

Picture above

Angiography system

Artis zeego (Siemens)

for the diagnosis and

therapy of neurovascular

diseases.

Picture below

MRI system

MAGNETOM Skyra

3T (Siemens) with 70

cm tunnel diameter

for better patient

access.

Photos: © Stefan Berger


10

RESEARCH

GROUPS


STIMULATE 58 | 59

RESEARCH

GROUP

CLINICAL

INTEGRATION -

NEUROLOGY

»

DR. OLIVER BEUING

Senior consultant

Institute of Neuroradiology of the OVGU

As a neuroradiologist and head of a research group, the tasks in the research campus

STIMULATE are manifold. Our research group is the interface for all neuroradiological

teams. Among other things, we evaluate modern concepts for system control in

the intervention room, aneurysmal diagnostics and the visibility and safety of vascular

implants. Through an intensive exchange of information with industry partners such

as Siemens, Acandis and Primed, new processes and products are developed and improved

in accordance with our defined requirements. Through interdisciplinary work

on highly relevant clinical problems, STIMULATE will contribute to improving patient

care.

RESEARCH

GROUP

IMAGE PROCESSING

AND

VISUALISATION

»

DR. SYLVIA SAALFELD

Institute for Simulation and Graphics of the OVGU

My research group develops algorithms for the multimodal visualisation of tumour

diseases, visual exploration of intracranial aneurysms and their simulated blood flow

as well as the pre- and intraoperative registration of spinal surgery. Multimodal refers

to image data from multiple image acquisition systems. The clinical applicability is

particularly important to me and fast, robust results are required at the same time. I

strongly appreciate the interdisciplinary aspect of my work and the close cooperation

with clinical partners. In the long term, we hope that the developed techniques will

enable improved diagnosis of tumours and vascular diseases.

Photos: © Harald Krieg


RESEARCH

GROUP

MR-TOOLS

»

ENRICO PANNICKE

Institute for Medical Technology of the OVGU

We are developing innovative devices and instruments to improve treatment in interventional

MRI. One problem for instance is the patient access and the special

environment of the MR tomograph. For example, normal drives for positioning instruments

are not applicable. One of our last achievements was a small MR-compatible

actuator to align markings on the patient surface. MR compatibility means that imaging

and the device functionality is not impaired, which is a key problem given the

sensitivity of the scanner and its strong magnetic fields. Furthermore, a new ablation

device and interventional coils are working topics of the group.

RESEARCH

GROUP

THERAPY PLANNING

AND

NAVIGATION

»

JUN.-PROF. CHRISTIAN HANSEN

Institute for Simulation and Graphics of the OVGU

Photos: © Harald Krieg

Our research group focuses on software to support image-guided medical procedures.

I am particularly interested in human-computer interaction in the operating

room. As sterile conditions prevail in the operating room, it is not possible to operate

with the keyboard and mouse. In addition, we are working on projecting relevant

information from the planning stage directly onto the patient. The aim of the group

is to integrate the methods step by step into clinical processes, to further expand our

clinical network and to facilitate a successful transfer into medical devices. As a junior

professor, STIMULATE offers me great opportunities for career development.


STIMULATE 60 | 61

RESEARCH

GROUP C-ARM

IMAGING

»

ROBERT FRYSCH

Institute for Medical Technology of the OVGU

My field of research is the reconstruction of CT images using a robot-assisted X-

ray device (C-Arm) in the operating room. In particular, I am working on analysing

patient movement that takes place during recording and taking it into account in

the reconstruction process to achieve significantly better image quality. In addition,

I work closely with my colleagues on exciting topics such as dynamic perfusion (circulation)

and physical effects such as beam hardening, which are very important for

stroke diagnostics. We are trying to develop methods and algorithms that not only

produce better images, but can also provide images so quickly that they can be used

in clinical practice.

RESEARCH

GROUP

INTERVENTIONAL

MR IMAGING

»

DR. URTE KÄGEBEIN

Institute for Experimental Physics of the OVGU

Within my research group, we want to create the conditions for continuous MR guidance

and control of percutaneous tumor ablations. My focus here is on the research

of a new kind of intuitive instrument tracking, which should enable an efficient interventional

workflow. The greatest demand in this work is that we implement our

research in such a way that it will continue to be used in the clinic in the future. It is

precisely this aspect that distinguishes the work here at the research campus - the

continuous intensive cooperation with our clinical partners both in our development

environment and in their clinical routine.

Photos: © Harald Krieg


RESEARCH

GROUP

BRAIN-MACHINE

INTERFACES

»

DR. CHRISTOPH REICHERT

Leibniz-Institute for Neurobiology, Magdeburg

Brain-machine-interfaces (BMI) enable people to control machines through brain

activity. Our research group focuses on acquiring brain signals, extracting the necessary

information and providing feedback. Due to the variety of tasks associated with

BMI, our team consists of scientists from different disciplines such as electrical and

mechanical engineering, computer science and neuroscience. Our vision is to enable

paralysed patients to participate in life again. For this purpose, we develop new

approaches to a BMI-driven rehabilitation as well as assistant systems that can be

applied directly to patients at home. Our team provides assistance in both software

hardware development.

RESEARCH

GROUP

ROBOTICS

»

PROF. NORBERT ELKMANN

Fraunhofer-IFF Magdeburg, Germany

Photos: © Harald Krieg

We are developing an intuitive and safe assistance robot with comprehensive basic

skills that supports the physician in minimally invasive image-guided interventions. In

the current phase of the project, we are focusing on the treatment of spinal tumours

using radiofrequency ablation as an example. A particular challenge is to locate the

target structure with high accuracy and to compensate for its movement during the

invasion, thus ensuring safe and accurate placement of the surgical instruments. In

addition, the robot must be operated intuitively by the physician and must meet high

safety requirements. We are developing a flexible assistance robot system that enables

precise, patient-specific interventions such as spinal metastases, but can also be used

for other image-guided interventions.


STIMULATE 62 | 63

RESEARCH

GROUP

HAEMODYNAMICS

AND

TOOLS

»

PD GÁBOR JANIGA

Institute for Fluid Mechanics and

Thermodynamics of the OVGU

Together with my team I want to develop new instruments and implants for vessels in

the brain. For this purpose, the blood flow behavior of various stent implants for the

treatment of brain aneurysms is investigated. I am particularly interested in how the

influence of different stents on blood flow behaviour can be predicted by means of

blood flow simulations. As an engineer, I am always fascinated by the complexity of

the human body. The long-term goal of my working group is to determine the stent

configuration on a patient-specific basis.

RESEARCH

GROUP CLINICAL

INTEGRATION -

ONCOLOGY

»

PROF. FRANK WACKER

Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional

Radiology of the Hanover Medical School

At the research campus STIMULATE, we are working on the clinical implementation of

MRI-assisted therapy. Our goal is to achieve a reliable and complete "A0 ablation" of

liver tumours. Exact imaging, precise guidance and comprehensive therapy monitoring

facilitates a complete destruction of the tumour with a safety margin.

In order to achieve this goal, there is a considerable need for development in technology

and medicine. Only seamless integration of the technology into the medical workflow

ensures reliable therapy. The special feature of the STIMULATE research campus

is that engineers from the University of Magdeburg, doctors from the Hanover Medical

School and developers from Siemens Healthineers are working on our common goal

of treating patients in MRI safely and effectively.

Photos: © Harald Krieg


PARTNERS


STIMULATE 64 | 65


PUBLISHING INFORMATION

PUBLISHER:

RESEARCH CAMPUS STIMULATE

Prof. Georg Rose

Spokesperson of the Research Campus STIMULATE

Sandtorstraße 23

39106 Magdeburg, Germany

Tel.: +49 391-67-19350 Fax: +49 391-67-19347

www.forschungscampus-stimulate.de

Email: info@forschungscampus-stimulate.de

DESIGN:

GRAFfisch

Agency for design

www.graf-fisch.de

PRINT:

PRIMUS international printing GmbH

info@primus-print.de

CO-AUTHORS:

Katharina Vorwerk

Kathrain Graubaum

Heike Kampe

Content: Prof. Bernhard Preim


In STIMULATE, interdisciplinary teams research and develop

image-guided minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic

methods for socially highly relevant disease patterns.

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