Hong Kong University Makes Breakthrough in Gastrointestinal Treatment

December 24, 2011 1:20 am Last Updated: October 1, 2015 2:57 pm
In collaboration with Singapore researchers, CUHK Professor CHIU Wai Yan Philip performed the first two cases of Robotic assisted ESD for the treatment of early gastric neoplasia in Hong Kong. (Chinese University of Hong Kong)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong announced on Dec. 15 that it has achieved a major technological breakthrough and completed the world first human case series of robotic-assisted endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD), which treats early gastric cancer.

CUHK Professor Philip Waiyan Chiu said on Dec. 15 that conventional treatment for gastric neoplasia involves resection and anastomosis (removing a diseased section of the intestine and sewing it shut), and carries certain risks of morbidity and mortality, while ESD is a new and effective technique for treatment of early stomach tumor.

Yet the major difficulty in performing ESD is that the design of traditional endoscope allows only single degree movements. Yet the newly designed robotic arms, set up jointly by CUHK, National University of Singapore, and Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, can be attached to the ordinary endoscopes to facilitate the performance of complex endoscopic surgery by extending the degree of movement through the two robotic arms.

Currently there are only five cases of robotic-assisted ESD performed in humans worldwide. CUHK performed the first two cases of robotic-assisted ESD for the treatment of early gastric neoplasia in Hong Kong.

CUHK said robotic-assisted ESD effectively reduces bleeding and infections and shortens the operation time. The two operations were successfully performed under general anesthesia, and the operation time was only 50 minutes for the first and 16 minutes for the second.

The researchers said that the new technology remains at the experimental stage; they hope it will be applied to clinical practice in five years. The researchers are also hoping to apply the robotic-assisted ESD technology to colon and rectal surgeries.

Gastrointestinal cancers are the most common cancers worldwide. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, gastric and colorectal cancers are the second- and third- most common causes of cancer-related deaths respectively, which amount to 1,500,000 deaths per year globally. Though advanced gastrointestinal cancers are hard to cure, early cancers have a better prognosis.

Read the original Chinese article.

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