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McMaster Institute of Surgical Invention, Innovation and Education

Since its establishment in 1999, the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery (CMAS) has gained recognition as a world leader in research and development of new technology to improve the quality of surgery. CMAS is currently the only site in the world with experience in remote telerobotic surgery. This experience provides us with a unique insight into the limitations of current robotic platforms and the attributes that will be critical to the success of the next generation of surgical robotic systems.

CMAS’s increasing scope has prompted the creation of the McMaster Institute of Surgical Invention, Innovation and Education (MISIIE). This University/Hospital Institute facilitates collaborative relationships with other Faculties, including Engineering, and partnerships with industry sponsors. The mandate of the newly created Institute will be made up of three areas:

  1. education and skills training through the Centre for Minimal Access Surgery;
  2. research and development in robotics and surgical innovations; and,
  3. the development of mission-critical, telehealth applications that will incorporate the newly developed innovations and that can be utilized to support surgeons and the communities in which they practice.

As part of the mandate the Institute is pursuing the development and commercialization of innovative robotic/telerobotic platforms. Such systems would address the limitations of the current telerobotics platform and would include a portable, modular system that could be easily and effectively used for a wide range of surgical procedures in rural hospitals and remote regions both in Canada and across the globe.

McMaster University has entered into a partnership agreement with MDA (formally MD Robotics, who has over 30 years of robotic experience having built all the robotic arms for the space station and the shuttle) to assist in the robotic development. Other industry partners involved in the development include HaiVision, GE, Stryker Canada, Bell Canada and Johnson and Johnson. These partnerships have resulted in over $3.5 million dollars of in-kind and financial support to the Institute’s robotics research and development. McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare are also stakeholders in this endeavor and to-date have invested over $2.5 million dollars in supporting technologies, research infrastructure and facilities, and a clinical test site. Most recently, the Ontario Provincial Government awarded MISIIE $2 million dollars to support the prototype development.