Irish medical technology company Palliare is leading EU research project H2020 with UCD using innovative optical technology for a new safer surgical solution.
A research and development project to develop new technologies to protect surgeons and patients from COVID-19 was funded by the European Commission with EUR 2.4 million.
The fast 18-month consortium project PORSAV is led by the Irish medical technology company Palliare in cooperation with the University College Dublin (UCD) as well as the Polish medical device manufacturer SteriPack and the leading French institution for surgical training IRCAD and project managed by Pintail Ltd.
UCD Digital Surgery under the direction of Professor Ronan Cahill and Dr. Kevin Nolan of the UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering is a lead academic partner in the Horizon 2020 funded project. UCD Digital Surgery is based at Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin and is part of the UCD Center for Precision Surgery.
The UCD team will investigate the nature and extent of accidental gas leaks in surgical and non-surgical procedures such as keyhole surgery, endoscopy and intubation, where aerosolization of body fluids poses a high risk to health workers.
In general, the problem arises when small amounts of gas used during surgical procedures leak, spreading aerosols that can contain virus particles, endangering surgeons, and depositing the virus on the surfaces of the operating room.
The goal of Palliare and the PORSAV consortium is to develop two novel medical devices to manage and filter such leaks at the source and to enable mass production and distribution of the devices to surgical teams and Covid-19 care teams worldwide.
The work is based on the learning from airflow research in surgery by UCD and will benefit from the fundamentals laid by the digital surgery department for data exchange and digital analysis between UCD and the Mater Hospital.
Palliare devices include a vacuum ring called a LeakTrapTM This detects stray air leaks that occur at the edge of the keyhole surgical tube or incision and removes potentially infectious air for proper disposal.
And a similar device called the EndoTrapTM This protects gastroenterologists who perform endoscopies from breathing, coughing or sneezing on their patients. The PORSAV project will produce thousands of LeakTraps and EndoTraps to be used in operating rooms around the world.
The UCD team uses the optical know-how of Dr. Kevin Nolan and will develop portable, cutting edge imaging technology for the operating room to accurately characterize and measure the potentially dangerous invisible gas leaks. They will then conduct clinical studies in collaboration with the Mater Hospital to test the new Palliare devices in real time.
Project partners Professor Bernard Dallemagne and Professor Silvana Perretta will lead a second trial at IRCAD in France, using the new technology and information to train surgeons around the world on how to reduce the risks of COVID-19 in the operating room.
SteriPack will mass-produce the disposable tubing in Poland, while Palliare’s vacuum technology will be manufactured in Galway, Ireland. Pintail Ltd will handle project management and administrative support.
John O’Dea, Co-Founder of Palliare, said: “A few months after the pandemic started, surgeries were stopped due to concerns about the risks posed by aerosol viruses to hospital staff.
We are delighted to have assembled such an outstanding multidisciplinary team and we thank the European Commission for their support in conducting this research and development project aimed at making surgery safer during this and future pandemics. The operation can’t stop!
“Our experience with innovation at Med Tech has always shown that the advancement of major medical devices depends on the collaboration of passionate clinicians and passionate engineers.
Palliare found such a passion for clinical innovation in surgery and active publication with Professor Ronan Cahill at UCD and Professors Perretta and Dallemagne at IRCAD in Strasbourg. We look forward to driving the research and testing of new surgical devices with these innovative doctors. ”
It is fantastic that a real, tangible solution to the basic problem we have characterized can now be delivered via the very talented engineering and trading team John O’Dea at Palliare and with the other consortium partners IRCAD and Steripak. „
Ronan Cahill, Professor and Consultant in Colon Cancer Surgery, UCD Research and Innovation
“The UCD team has worked hard in this area, with Dr. Kevin Nolan played a central role. In addition to our surgical knowledge and expertise, this has produced some truly remarkable work at a time of great social difficulty.
This project confirms the Mater Hospital as a leading partner for applied clinical research for advances in surgical practice – both the background work and the next iterative phases could really only be carried out in this exceptional surgical facility.
The award is another great endorsement of our unique ability to innovate across sectors for better surgery. ”
Beyond Covid, the research will also improve safety and efficiency in anesthesia, intubation in the intensive care unit and other invasive procedures – including a complementary solution to the chronic problem of surgical smoke inhalation by surgeons and nurses. It also has uses outside of medicine for treating gas leaks in other contexts.
UCD research and innovation
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