EDOG Phd Candidate Brad Hanks won the 3rd Annual Millennium Café Pitch Competition with his pitch, “Creating Personalized Surgical Tools with Metal 3D Printing.”
Brad: We are using optimization tools to generate customized surgical tools. Our primary focus is pancreatic cancer because is a need for improvement in minimally invasive treatment options. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is an option used to treat tumors but in this treatment, the shape of the tool affects the size and shape of the tumors you can treat. Current endoscopic tools are limited in their ability to match the size and shape of various tumors. Using finite element analysis and evolutionary algorithms, we can optimize the shape of the tool to match the shape of the tumor for a specific patient. Then using metal 3D printing, we can make these highly customized surgical tools. Essentially, we are using optimization to create surgical tools that are customized for a specific patient so that we can personalize the treatment and improve efficiency.