Miniprobes Pty Ltd

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South Australia

BMTH Round: Third

Project Title: A smart brain biopsy needle for faster, safer neurosurgery 

Miniprobes is developing a smart biopsy needle that can see where it is going and tell the brain surgeon when it is in a cancer.

Brain tumours are the leading cause of cancer-related death in children and have one of the largest disease burdens across all ages because of the high fatality rate. Needle biopsies are a standard part of diagnosis, and over 37,000 brain biopsies are performed each year in the USA and Europe.

They are developing a needle that contains a tiny fibre-optic camera that can detect fluorescence. Miniprobes are combining this with a standard clinical drug, Gliolan, which causes brain tumours to fluoresce. Together, they create a smart biopsy needle that can detect when it is correctly positioned within a tumour.

This device has the potential to make brain surgery both safer and faster, shortening surgery by 30 minutes and saving $5,000 per surgery.

Miniprobes’ vision is to become the dominant medical manufacturer of fluorescence-guided surgical tools. Small, high-value products such as this are ideal for manufacture in Australia for export to the world.

Visit Miniprobes for more information.

Project Partners: The University of Adelaide, Royal Adelaide Hospital, Specialised Therapeutics & KD&A

Contact: Dr Robert McLaughlin