Clinical Themes

The work of the NIHR Surgical MedTech Co-operative focuses on four areas of surgery: colorectal, vascular, hepatopancreatobiliary (HPB), which involves surgery of the liver, gall bladder and pancreas, and neurosurgery.

Image of colorectal systemOur colorectal theme – led by Professor David Jayne –  covers surgery for colorectal cancer and diverticular disease, more common in elderly patients, and for chronic conditions found in younger patients such as inflammatory bowel disease, benign anorectal conditions and pelvic floor disorders.   Areas of expertise:  nanotechnologies and engineering solutions to colorectal disease, nanoparticle applications for cancer (incl. quantum dots & liposomal particles), intelligent instruments, medical robotic technologies, haptic sensing systems, devices for incontinence, molecular biology, microbiome research and novel markers of response to neoadjuvant treatment.



Image of vascular networksOur vascular theme – led by Professor Julian Scott –  an ageing population and rising levels of obesity and type II diabetes are increasing the prevalence of peripheral arterial disease (abdominal aortic aneurysm and lower limb ischaemia) can ensue.  Areas of expertise:  Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms, Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm, Novel vascular stents, 3D printing and flexible tubular replicas of abdominal aortic aneurysms, automatic 3D segementation of complex anatomical structures, spray technologies for endoluminal thrombolysis, novel small-molecules as therapeutic targets in vascular disease, virtual vascular suturing, wound management, diabetic foot ulcers and peripheral arterial disease.

Image of liver, pancreas and gall bladderPrimary and secondary liver cancer forms a large part of our HPB theme, led by Professor Giles Toogood. Other HPB cancers, such as hepatocellular and pancreatic cancer, are less common, but there has been little change in their dismal prognosis over several decades. This theme also covers benign conditions, including gall stone disease and its complications, and the increasing prevalence of pancreatitis due to alcohol abuse.  Areas of expertise:  nanoparticles for thermal ablation of metastatic disease, dual functional particles for intraoperative cancer localisation, haptic feedback systems for liver surgery, augmented reality liver resection, predictive value of resections in liver and pancreatic cancer, psychomotor skills and operative safety in laparascopic surgery.

The Neurosurgery theme is led by Mr Ryan Mathew and its aims are to evaluate and define the role of innovative and disruptive technologies on common pathologies within neurosurgery where there is potential impact for improving patient outcomes.  Indications of interest are brain tumours and degenerative spinal conditions. Technologies that are considered to have potential will be supported to progress to mixed methodologies clinical trial evaluations, encompassing pilot, feasibility, and implementation. There will also be a focus on utilising technology in the context of advancing neurosurgical training and competence to enhance the quality of service provision.

By working with our key stakeholders, the NIHR Surgical MedTech Co-operative will address important unmet surgical needs within these themes and provide the expertise and resource needed to translate new technologies into patient benefit.