Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tech Development at Harvard

Many tumors occur in parts of the body that are difficult to locate and image such as with the colon, stomach, or lung tumors because a patient’s breathing can cause the entire area to move several millimeters each second.

Current technologies focus only on a single bright spot namely the tumor, which is smeared out during the slow imaging required to achieve high resolution. Targeting the radiation treatment relies on guessing where the tumor will be assuming that the patient breathes at a constant rate. When this does not happen, the beam will miss the tumor and may damage surrounding healthy tissue.

Harvard’s “PLuTARCTM technology”, when integrated with a fast 3D imaging system such as in the case of MRIs or CT scanning, can precisely locate in real-time the exact position of the tumor as it moves, which can then be targeted dynamically by existing radiation treatment methods. Harvard’s technology is able to fully reconstruct the geometry of the tumor and its surroundings in real time to target lock tumors with far higher speed and precision.

Information on the technology invented by Peter J. Lu and David A. Weitz, is available from Harvard University’s Office of Technology Development under the category of medical devices. A patent application has been filed and is pending. For more information on Harvard Case #2874, contact Daniel Behr, Director of Business Development at (617)-495-3067.

In a worldwide exclusive license, Barrett Technology, Inc. has signed a licensing agreement with Harvard and has the exclusive rights to a novel polymer-bases robotic hand technology known as the “SDM Hand”. The first production units are to be available in 2011.

The robotic hand has fingers with flexible joints, which allows it to easily conform to objects and grip them solidly without exerting excessive force. These special joints enable the hand to grasp objects that vary widely in size, share, and mass, plus the hand is able to overcome positioning errors if the object is not placed correctly.