The award recognizes Monteris Medical founders Mark G. Torchia and Richard Tyc for the development of the minimally invasive NeuroBlate® System
PLYMOUTH, Minn. – March 2, 2020 – Monteris Medical, the leader in image-guided laser ablation systems for the brain, announced today that its founders, Mark G. Torchia and Richard Tyc, are the 2020 recipients of the Pioneer in Technology Award by The Society for Brain Mapping & Therapeutics (SBMT).
Torchia and Tyc, both from Winnipeg, Manitoba, founded Monteris Medical in 1999 with the sole focus of helping patients who suffer from neurological diseases. The revolutionary technology they developed – the minimally invasive NeuroBlate System, an MRI-guided, robotically controlled laser ablation surgical device – has been used in nearly 3,000 patients and in more than 80 institutions in the U.S. and Canada to ablate primary brain tumors, metastatic brain tumors, radiation effect and epileptic foci.
The SBMT presents this award to “the trailblazing companies and their CEOs/presidents who have facilitated the development of pioneering technologies through interdisciplinary approaches that have impacted diagnostics, treatment, and healthcare delivery in unprecedented ways.”
Torchia, who currently serves as vice-provost (teaching and learning) at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, said the idea for the technology came after a brain biopsy surgery he attended with a neurosurgeon. “I thought at that moment how beneficial it could be to the patient to slide a heat source down the small biopsy tract and affect some kind of change in the tumor,” said Torchia. Torchia and Tyc then began developing concepts and prototypes for laser technology use in the brain for primary tumors, using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a way to monitor the heat.
Tyc, vice president of technology and advanced development at Monteris Medical, said the recognition was gratifying. “We knew then that there was tremendous potential in developing this technology,” commented Tyc. “The minimally invasive approach to the surgery and subsequent short recoveries change the game for patients that otherwise would undergo an open craniotomy or have no other option. Now, we’re looking at the technology’s next phase of development to offer hope to even more people.”
Tyc and Torchia will receive the award at the 17th Annual “Gathering for Cure” Black Tie Awards Gala of Brain Mapping Foundation, March 21 in Los Angeles.
Monteris Medical is a privately held company that develops and markets innovative MRI-guided, laser-based systems to perform minimally invasive brain surgery, commonly referred to as “LITT” (Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy) or “SLA” (Stereotactic Laser Ablation). Current investors include Versant Ventures, SightLine Partners, Birchview Capital and BDC Capital. The Monteris NeuroBlate System is the only minimally invasive system that enables a robotic interface for the precise and safe delivery of laser energy. The NeuroBlate System is a tool and is not intended to treat any specific disease. Physicians should use their clinical judgment and experience when deciding whether to use NeuroBlate.
The Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics (SBMT) is a non-profit society organized for the purpose of encouraging basic and clinical scientists who are interested in areas of brain mapping, engineering, stem cell, nanotechnology, imaging and medical device to improve the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of patients afflicted with neurological disorders.
This society promotes the public welfare and improves patient care through the translation of new technologies/therapies into lifesaving diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The society is committed to excellence in education, and scientific discovery. The society achieves its mission through multi-disciplinary collaborations with government agencies, patient advocacy groups, educational institutes and industry as well as philanthropic organization.
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