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UH Researchers Study the Possibilities of Robots for Prostate Cancer Treatment

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
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According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 880 new cases of prostate cancer in Hawaiʻi, with 180 deaths within the next year.

Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center are teaming up with the College of Engineering to use robots to treat prostate cancer.

The UH researchers are designing a robot that will accurately insert a needle into soft tissue. The needle will deposit radioactive seeds into the prostate gland to kill cancer cells.

The method is called brachytherapy. It currently can only be performed by an experienced surgeon with steady hands and an intuitive feel for the needle insertion.

Bardia Konh, an assistant professor for the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UH Mānoa, said the new robots would assist physicians, not replace them.

"The acceptance of leaving everything to robots is not very popular among the medical community. We as engineers would like it to be operable by robots," Konh said. "Because the problem is very uncertain when things go inside the human body, and a number of things can go wrong, we would like the supervision of a physician."

Brachytherapy is the most popular treatment for prostate cancer because it damages the surrounding tissue much less than chemotherapy.

Advancements in brachytherapy will help treat prostate cancer for men around the globe.

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