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Ceramic Tips Help Destroy Tumours in a Minimally Invasive Fashion

Morgan Advanced Materials has designed and manufactured the ceramic tips for a ground-breaking medical device from Microsulis Medical Ltd that destroys tumours in a minimally invasive procedure.

As a result of using the new system, both patient trauma following surgery and post operation recovery time are significantly reduced. Patients can be sent home on the day of surgery, reducing hospital stays, which is better for the patient and reduces the cost to healthcare providers.

The Acculis Microwave Tissue Ablation (MTA) system is an emerging technology used for the coagulation of soft tissue and clinicians have successfully used the device to treat tumours of the liver, lung, kidney and bone.

Critical to the ablation system is a 1.8mm diameter closed saline-cooled ceramic tipped needle - the Accu2i pMTA applicator - which pierces the patient's skin to reach the tumour. High power, 2.45GHz microwave energy is then emitted through the tip of the needle directly into the tissue and controlled heating desiccates the tumour.

The device can address tumours up to 5.6 centimetres in size in just six minutes, and is between three to 10 times faster than other systems. In alternative, more invasive treatments, patients would usually be in hospital recovering for up to three weeks following the procedure.

Morgan Advanced Materials' applications engineers recommended Zirconia-based materials for the tip of the device as its high strength and mechanical properties enable small intricate shapes to be manufactured. This material can withstand extreme temperatures and is strong enough to be manufactured into a hollow fine point of 1.8mm in diameter without breaking. It is also bio-compatible and has no adverse reaction with tissue.

With its world-class design expertise and specialist manufacturing capabilities, Morgan Advanced Materials works in partnership with medical device manufacturers to develop competitive customised solutions to meet their needs. Morgan Advanced Materials has the capability to manufacture components to highly complex geometries, achieving exacting geometric tolerances without secondary machining.

The company can also provide the production capability to manage and support volume requirements ranging from low thousands to millions of components per year.

"We are delighted to be involved in a project that is set to change the way tumour surgery is performed," says Brian Turner, technical sales executive, Morgan Advanced Materials. "Components made from ceramic materials can now be manufactured to such small sizes and tight tolerances that they enable ground-breaking techniques such as this to be developed."

"With the benefit of Morgan Advanced Materials' extensive knowledge of 'micro-moulding' we have been able to bring this new product to market," says Stuart McIntyre, Chief Executive of Microsulis Medical. "Historically, cancer treatments have included invasive techniques, such as surgical removal of the tumour, or minimally invasive procedures, such as chemotheraphy and radiofrequency ablation (RFA), which come with their own problems. This ceramic tip has allowed us to develop a microwave ablative therapy that offers clinicians another option, with the potential to treat more patients and reduce costs."

The launch of the Accu2i pMTA applicator followed two years of extensive clinical use and evaluation in major medical centres in the US, Asia-Pacific, UK and Europe. The device is CE-marked, FDA 510(k) cleared and approved for use in many territories including Australia, New Zealand, Europe, USA and Canada.


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