Revolutionary ‘Pharmacist’ Robots at ICANS: High-Precision Anti-Cancer Treatment Production and Faster Patient Care

2023-10-03 13:15:44

This is quite an exceptional novelty. “Pharmacist” robots anthropomorphs were installed at ICANS, the cancer institute of Strasbourg Europe. This is only the second time in France that such technology has been installed. Two robotic arms now rotate every day in a special room at the Paul Strauss Center in the hospital district. Their mission: to prepare dozens of injectable anti-cancer treatments every day.

Very fragile treatments, which require great handling precautions. This is precisely the specialty of these new robots, precision. In the small white room at the Paul Strauss center where they are installed, behind a glass window, the two robotic arms grab the bottles, fill syringes and finally come out of pockets of medications adapted to each patient, for each cancer.

One of the new anthropomorphic robots from ICANS © Radio France – Antoine Balandra

“The robot needs bags of solvents, vials and syringes. Once it is loaded, it will work on its own” explains Doctor Abdelmalek Bendjama, head of production at ICANS.

“The robots ensure a high level of production quality. At the end it makes a volume weight, dissolution report and it will ensure that the dose is the right one” he adds. At the slightest doubt, the robot sends an alert to the operator. Otherwise, all that remains is to collect the doses. And stick the label to identify the product and the final patient.

These cutting-edge drugs developed for each patient are indeed very fragile. These antibodies target the tumor at its heart and are very sensitive to the slightest variation. The robot allows therefore greater precision than human handswhile ensuring maximum safety for the operator.

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Much faster for the patient

The patient also benefits. Because each robot will ultimately be able to produce up to 90 chemotherapy or immunology bags per day. 20,000 per year. Enough to speed up the pace and save patients a long wait each time they visit the day hospital. Until then, patients could spend their day there, just waiting for the production and administration of their medicine, made manually. From now on, it will be much faster, explains Doctor Pierre Coliat, head of the ICANS pharmacy department.

Anti-cancer treatment bags prepared by new robots © Radio France – Antoine Balandra

“These robots are part of an entire process. In particular the anticipation of the prescription and therefore the anticipation of the production of these chemotherapy bags. So much so that the day the patient comes to ICANS, his pocket is available in the appropriate dosage. This reduces patient waiting time. To date, 90% of the bags of patients who come to ICANS for oncology have been prepared the day before” explains the doctor. And to avoid any errors, the robots are connected to software which analyzes the composition of the bags produced. Ultimately, 60% of production will thus be robotized.

In total, ICANS invested 2 million euros in these new robots manufactured by an Italian firm.

To listen

Broadcast from 03/06/2022

A robot from the University of Cambridge tastes dishes throughout the recipe

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