For Canberra Hospital doctors Robert Allen and John Cockburn, the TechLauncher program was a way to take the first steps in turning a long-held idea into reality.
“We specialise in interventional radiology. Together we’ve discussed the idea of using steam to kill cancerous tissue, and TechLauncher seemed like a great way to take the idea forward and see whether it could be viable. In 10 weeks, the students have been able to develop a working prototype for us.”
Through TechLauncher, a team of five engineering students were able to develop a ‘Tissue Ablation Generator’ to kill cancerous tissue on the liver. Similar to radiology, Tissue Ablation uses heat to kill cancer, just in a different way – using steam. Distilled water is syringed into the generator at one end, and the generator then converts the water into steam. This steam effectively ‘cooks’ the cancerous tissue on the liver.
“Working with the students has been easy and seamless process, they’re great people to work with. We’re planning on passing the project onto the next cohort of students in the TechLauncher program, to undertake further testing and modifications to the prototype that’s been developed,” said Dr Allen.
“As materials technology improves, we keep an eye on the latest breakthroughs. The potential for collaboration in Canberra is massive - there are so many engineers with great hospitals on the side, so by combining our strengths, who knows what could happen!”