Cancer often can only be cured by complete surgical removal. In this case, the surgery must be performed in exactly the right layer: If the incision is too close to the tumor, the risk of incomplete removal increases; if the incision is too far away, important structures (e.g. nerves) can be injured, resulting in a lower quality of life. Therefore, the choice of clinic and surgical team currently determines the outcome after cancer surgery.
At the NCT/UCC, computer scientists and surgeons are working together to develop innovative computer- and robotic-assisted systems for cancer surgery. For instance, they are designing navigation systems for surgeries in the abdomen (e.g. for tumors of the rectum or in the liver). Due to the high degree of mobility of the structures in those areas, it is a particular challenge for surgeons to operate with maximum precision. By using artificial intelligence the surgeon will in future be able to see the location of the tumor and risk structures that need to be spared in real time during the surgery as well as information on how to remove the tumor completely in the best possible way.
The new NCT/UCC building has a special Experimental Operating Theatre & Simulation Room for this purpose. This is a state-of-the-art interconnected operating room with sensors and devices that continuously record the course of treatment and that links a large number of information sources. In this room research is conducted exclusively on models. Comparable high-tech operating rooms with the same equipment exist, for example, in VTG surgery. Promising research results from the Experimental Operating Theatre & Simulation Room can thus bemirrored to the clinical operating room in the future and be further tested on patients.