The Orsi Academy, the largest training centre for robotic surgery in Europe, just moved into a brand new complex in Melle. Its purpose: to make our country the number one in testing, learning and developing ofmedical high technology.
Renowned doctor and professor Alexandre Mottrie and doctor Geert Vandenbroucke founded the Orsi Academy in 2013. The emphasis was on training in robotic surgery, which is used in prostate, kidney and bladder cancer and in gynaecology. The new institute in Melle, with a price tag of 18 million euro and a surface area of 5,500 square meters, broadens that focus.
We want to be a knowledge centre for innovative medical technology, says professor Mottrie, head of the urology department at the OLV Ziekenhuis in Aalst. ‘Here, everything innovative in medicine or in medical surgical techniques has a platform. In addition to scientific training we also plan test projects and pilot studies for new medical technologies. We are working together with the universities of Leuven and Ghent. Finally, we allow companies to present their novelties to their target audience.’
New robot technology
For Alex Mottrie, the times in which we operated with forks and knives, so to speak, belong to the past. ‘Surgical operations are becoming less invasive: with smaller incisions, less blood loss and less burden on the patient after surgery. Artificial intelligence and big data are becoming increasingly important. It also means that we can upload more 3D-reconstructed images to robots, so they can better find their way in the human body. Image guiding is the future’, says Mottrie.
The times in which we operated with forks and knives, so to speak, belong to the pastProf. Dr. Alexandre Mottrie, head of the urology department at the OLV Ziekenhuis (Our Lady’s Hospital) in Aalst
Intuitive is an American company which, for many years now, has the worldwide monopoly on operation robots. The Orsi Academy wants to help change that. Alex Mottrie: ‘Innovation also means creating more space for new players. Medtronic is a multinational company. Along with Intuitive, it is the largest private sponsor of our centre (which is also financed with public funds from Flanders and Europe, editor’s note). The Orsi Academy is working on its own operation robot. In addition, Intuitive and some other brands have new solutions around robotic surgery in the pipeline. In the coming months, you will see an important growth in robot technology.’
A platform for innovation
The centre also supports smaller Flemish start-ups. Alex Mottrie: ‘A Ghent-based start-up has invented a very innovative tool. Thanks to us, the inventor now talks with big players to get the tool into production or to sell it.’
Barco also sees the Orsi Academy as an ideal forum for demonstrating and testing new technologies. They currently demonstrate 3D screens that do not require special glasses. Manufacturers show interest to integrate that technology in their operation robots. The starting point of all our initiatives and our development and collaboration possibilities is identical’, concludes Alex Mottrie. ‘We want to improve medicine by testing, improving and safely marketing innovative products.’