Dr. Mark Torchia And Richard Tyc Receive $100,000 Ernest C. Manning Principal Innovation Award For Co-Inventing The NeuroBlate® System

Oct 01, 2015, 15:00 ET from Monteris Medical


PLYMOUTH, Minn., Oct. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Monteris Medical today announced that Mark Torchia, Associate Professor of Surgery in the College of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba and Richard Tyc, the Company's Vice President of Technology and Advanced Development have jointly received the Ernest C. Manning Principal Innovation Award. Dr. Torchia and Mr. Tyc are being recognized for their work to co-invent AutoLITT®, a technology that evolved to become the NeuroBlate® System, a minimally invasive robotic laser thermotherapy tool that is currently used in more than 30 hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada.

"We knew that many patients with brain tumors were already undergoing a biopsy with a small diameter instrument, so we began to explore whether we could create a similar sized device that a surgeon could use to coagulate the tumor in a minimally invasive manner," said Mr. Tyc. "We recognized the opportunity to develop and commercialize a technology that could minimize recovery time with less patient discomfort while also enabling surgeons to target an entire lesion as they would through traditional open surgical resection."

"At that time, laser use for neurological conditions was a validated approach but available methods and devices didn't offer the surgeon adequate control," he added. "The end result, the SideFire probe technology, enables contoured ablation of targets while preserving adjacent healthy tissue. We are grateful to receive this award and excited to see continued adoption of NeuroBlate by the neurosurgery community."

Dr. Torchia developed the first prototype for NeuroBlate in 1990 while working at Winnipeg's St. Boniface General Hospital. He brought Mr. Tyc on board in 1999 as the first full-time employee to help develop the technology application and turn the concept into commercially viable product. The pair later founded Monteris Medical Inc. to enhance, manufacture and distribute the NeuroBlate System.

"It's an honor to be recognized for a discovery that we've collaborated on for a very long time. From our early days at St. Boniface Hospital through to regulatory clearances and expanded clinical use, every milestone has been noteworthy but none more important than simply being able to put our technology into the hands of neurosurgeons and see patients benefiting," noted Dr. Torchia. "This award is also a great opportunity to raise visibility for and celebrate Canadian contributions to medical device innovation."

The NeuroBlate System combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer visualization to allow surgeons to remotely destroy and coagulate lesions at multiple locations in the brain, at the surface or deep inside, with the aid of sophisticated computer software. During a procedure, a surgeon makes a small hole in the skull, approximately as wide as a pencil, and precisely guides a laser probe via an MRI compatible robotic driver to apply controlled amounts of heat until the targeted tissue is destroyed.

In traditional brain operations, MRI is used after the surgery to determine if the lesion had been removed. With NeuroBlate, however, MRI visualization is used throughout the procedure, which enables real-time surgical decision-making. NeuroBlate also allows surgeons to reach tumors that are difficult to access with standard surgery or were previously considered inoperable.

"We congratulate Mark and Richard for their outstanding contributions to the field of neurosurgery, and would also like to thank the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation for their long track record of recognizing innovation across a diverse group of disciplines," said John Schellhorn, President and CEO of Monteris Medical. "We are proud to carry on the spirit of innovation and commitment to quality that Mark and Richard established as our bedrock when they founded Monteris."

About the Ernest C. Manning Awards

The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation was established in 1980 by Alberta Energy Company CEO David Mitchell. Working with former Alberta premier Ernest C. Manning and others, he built the foundation to recognize and celebrate Canadian innovators of all ages and across all disciplines. Since then, the Foundation has built a national network of 3,000 young and adult innovators who are leaders in technology, business, engineering, and social innovation advancement. It has awarded innovation prizes to 255 Canadians who have demonstrated innovative talent in developing and successfully marketing a new concept, process or procedure. For more information, including the full list of 2015 Innovation Award winners, visit:  www.manningawards.ca. Follow Manning Awards on Twitter @ManningAwardsCA, or like on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ManningAwards.

About the NeuroBlate System®

The NeuroBlate System is FDA-cleared to ablate, necrotize or coagulate soft tissue encountered in the discipline of neurosurgery through the application of laser thermotherapy. NeuroBlate is a tool (as opposed to a "treatment") and is not intended to treat any specific disease. Physicians should use their clinical judgment and experience when deciding whether to use NeuroBlate.

Full prescribing information for the NeuroBlate System is available at www.monteris.com.

About Monteris®

Monteris Medical is a privately held company developing innovative MRI-guided, laser-based brain lesion therapy. Monteris Medical markets the NeuroBlate® System, a neurosurgical ablation device providing controlled therapy for difficult-to-treat brain lesions. Monteris also offers the AXiiiS® Stereotactic Miniframe; a single use platform for image-guided, stereotactic brain biopsy; and the AtamA™ Stabilization System for MRI-guided neurosurgical procedures requiring head fixation.

For more information on Monteris Medical please visit www.monteris.com.


SOURCE Monteris Medical