13.9.2022 | Kuopio Health

Smart tissue monitor helps the surgeon to identify cancer cells

Reliable tissue identification is one of the biggest challenges in cancer surgery. As a solution, medical technology startup Marginum has developed a smart tissue monitor, which enables the surgeon to identify whether the tissue removed by the surgeon was healthy or cancerous during operation.

We intend to export the product to international markets immediately as it solves a global problem”, says the company’s CEO & Co-Founder Samu Lehtonen.

The smart tissue monitor is utilised especially in cancer surgery, and it’s first applications includes malignant glioma tumours. Later, the device is intended to be used for at least in liver, ovarian and colon cancers surgeries.

Before surgery, the patient is given a drug that accumulates fluorescent markers in the cancer cells. During the surgery, the tissues are illuminated with a light that causes the fluorescent marker to glow, making it easier to identify the cancerous tissue.

The problem, however, is that the cancerous tissue grows diffusely. Visual identification of tissues is challenging, and may be obstructed by e.g., blood and tissue debris. Cancerous tissue can be hidden from sight in a ‘blind corner’. Due to these limitations, cancerous tissue may not be removed and healthy tissue can be damaged, which weakens the treatment response for the patient.

The smart tissue monitor developed by Marginum is attached to the suction tube which transports surgical waste. The device identifies from the suction waste whether the removed tissue was cancer or not. Based on an auditory signal, the surgeon is continuously informed if the removed tissue included cancerous tissues.

Lehtonen sees several advantages with the new device: its operating principle is simple, and it does not interfere with the surgeon’s workflow or obstruct the utilisation of other methods. Owing to its use, less healthy tissue and more cancerous tissue is removed.

Marginum - Team of surgeons background

MARKET ENTRY IN 2024

Clinical trials with the device will soon begin at Kuopio University Hospital (KUH). If everything goes as planned, device sales will be established in 2024.

The company emerged from the observations made in connection with the research conducted at KUH Microsurgery Center of Eastern Finland

“We came to the conclusion that the best way to utilise our discoveries, is to start a company”, Lehtonen says. The company’s Chairman of Board, Associate Professor of Neurosurgery Antti-Pekka Elomaa, recently presented the invention to end-users at the 2022 Nordic Neurosurgical Training Course organized in Norway where it received the award for the best scientific presentation. The company aims to enter international markets with its first product as it addresses a global problem.

Marginum has also received local recognition as it won the annual Tahko Ski Lift Pitch 2022 competition.

 

PUBLICITY FOR MUTUAL BENEFIT

Marginum joined Kuopio Health to further connect with research institutions. In addition, Samu Lehtonen believes that collaboration opportunities can be found with other members and the publicity that can be achieved together will work for everyone’s benefit.

The innovation ecosystem could include advice for early-stage companies, such as education on quality systems utilised in product development or events worth attending. Support from the network is also anticipated adjacent to the product’s market entry. 

Lehtonen is satisfied that Marginum’s operations have progressed well without major setbacks. 

“This learning curve has been steep for myself as I didn’t have much business experience. Counselling specialized in the field of medical technology could help many at the initial phases of starting a company”, he thinks.

The original full article in Finnish can be read at Kuopio Health website.

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