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MURAB (MRI and Ultrasound Robotic Assisted Biopsy)

The MURAB project has the ambition to drastically improve precision of diagnostic biopsies and effectiveness of the workflow, reducing the usage of expensive Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to a minimum and at the same time yield the same precision during samples targeting due to a novel MRI-Ultrasound (US) registration. A robotically steered US transducer with additional acoustically transparent force sensing will be autonomously moved to optimally acquire volumetric and elastographic data.

Thanks to an innovative technique, which will be developed in the project and called Tissue Active Slam (TAS), the system will optimally register the acquired volume to the MR image. Once that is done, the radiologist can select the target on the MR image and the robot will steer the instrument to the exact desired location by adapting the insertion angle on the basis of real time US measurements. Tissue deformations will be predicted based on the acquired elastographic measurements. Such a procedure has the potential to drastically improve the clinical workflow and save lives by ensuring an exact targeting of (small) lesions, which are visible under MR and not under US.

Technologies developed within MURAB also have the potential to improve other clinical procedures. Clinically, two applications will be targeted and validated in the project: breast cancer diagnostics (MUW and ZGT) and muscle disease diagnostics (UMCN). Considering the potential for the market, industrial partners are involved with expertise in the delivery of components and safe applications of robotics (KUKA), as well as with great knowledge and ambition in pushing innovation to the medical market (SIEMENS).