2019 Katharine Burr Blodgett Medal and Prize
Professor Chris Hancock for designing and patenting an electro-surgery platform enabling microwave and bipolar radio frequency energy to be delivered from a range of miniature endoscopic devices to treat lesions in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Chris Hancock's initial designs forms the basis of Creo's advanced energy electro-surgery generator which is now being placed in hospitals around the world.
Using an endoscope, surgeons and/or gastroenterologists diagnose and, using Creo's technology, bloodlessly resect or remove pre-cancerous lesions and early stage cancers in the GI tract. Creo's technology allows lesions to be resected in full (en-bloc) with a safety margin of healthy tissue, thus reducing the chances of the cancer returning (remaining cells increase the risk of recurrence). The system is optimised to mitigate the risk of thermal damage to the surrounding tissues.
Over 75 procedures have been performed using the first device known as ‘Speedboat’ which is powered by Creo's advanced energy electro-surgical platform, initially designed and developed by Hancock with support from colleagues and friends, with life changing results.
Creo's goal is to commercialise technology to move treatment from the operating theatre into an endoscopy suite, where patients are treated under sedation on an out-patient basis without the need for open or laparoscopic surgery and the associated costs of hospital stays, recovery times and risks that are inherent with surgical procedures. Unlike the case for open or laparoscopic procedures, these procedures are carried out under local anaesthetic or, in some cases, with no anaesthetic at all.
Feedback from users of the system are overwhelmingly positive, citing ease of use, accuracy and effectiveness. Creo’s electro-surgery platform, together with the ‘Speedboat’ device, has the potential to redefine patient treatment pathways.
Procedures using the Creo system are life changing for patients and are disrupting the currently accepted practices in endoscopy.
Hancock is immensely proud of the affect the system is having on peoples' lives. He is always thinking of new and innovative ways to use and develop the technology to solve complex medical problems.
Creo employs over 80 people and Hancock is responsible for all technology related matters involving existing and new Creo medical products, including developing and managing Creo's extensive intellectual property (IP) portfolio, the development of new pipeline products and helping to assess opportunities to exploit IP to accelerate product development.