As the use of 3D printing and AR/VR suggest, innovation is increasingly linked to 21st-century technology at Cleveland Clinic. Innovative applications of technology include everything from Big Data to robotics. Technology is the caregiver’s partner at Cleveland Clinic.
Cleveland Clinic’s Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute offers robotic and laparoscopic radical surgery for a majority of kidney diseases. In addition, Cleveland Clinic was one of the first medical centers in the United States to offer robotic radical prostatectomy.
High-tech, high-touch approaches also enable surgeons to find ways to save organs while removing cancers. A 25-year-old mother learned she had a malignant tumor on her left kidney. Her doctors in San Diego recommended a procedure to remove the cancer and the entire kidney during her second trimester of pregnancy. Leery about possible complications, she contacted Cleveland Clinic.
A team led by Georges-Pascal Haber, MD, recommended a new treatment for kidney cancer: robotic partial nephrectomy. With camera-guided precision, a robot would assist in removing the cancer and just a portion of the kidney.
Six weeks after giving birth, the patient traveled to Cleveland Clinic for surgery. Dr. Haber inserted robotic surgical equipment through small incisions in her abdomen and guided the robotic instruments through the procedure. Two hours later, the cancerous growth was removed and 70 percent of the kidney was saved, and the organ was fully functional. No chemotherapy or radiation was needed.
Neurosurgery and neuroscience research also benefit from the application of innovative technologies in recent decades. Beginning in the late 1980s, Cleveland Clinic established a computer-assisted neurosurgery program funded in part by a $10 million grant from the Department of Defense. Targeting software helps locate and destroy lesions in the brain.
Innovations also apply to treating psychiatric disorders. In 2006, Cleveland Clinic doctors and researchers started using deep-brain stimulation in this area. In 2015, the first MRI-guided deep-brain stimulation was completed at Cleveland Clinic. Since 2016, Cleveland Clinic also has been studying how deep-brain stimulation may have a positive impact on stroke recovery.
Bruce Trapp, MD, chairman of neurosciences at Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute, is one of the nation’s leading researchers studying possible treatments for multiple sclerosis. His pioneering work involves attempting to restore myelin, a protective sheath around brain cells that is destroyed by MS. In 2009, he teamed up with Cleveland Clinic Innovations, an arm of the institution formed to speed commercialization of healthcare innovations, and formed Renovo Neural, Inc. Renovo Neural provides a means of offering his exclusive techniques and methodologies to MS researchers everywhere. One example of this is the company’s work with pharmaceutical companies to test treatments and their ability to produce myelin sheaths around nerve cells.
Since producing the first commercial dosimeter in the 1920s, Cleveland Clinic has remained in the vanguard of healthcare innovation. For nearly two decades, some of the most innovative uses of technology in healthcare have been developed and championed by Cleveland Clinic Innovations and its sister organization, Cleveland Clinic Ventures. These arms of Cleveland Clinic have managed more than 1,200 patents, 550 licensing agreements and helped create more than 80 spinoff companies. These ventures represent an array of technologies in medical devices, pharmaceuticals and health information technologies.
Innovation at Cleveland Clinic has never been more focused on pushing boundaries in pursuit of improved public health. And Cleveland Clinic’s innovative solutions are sure to continue evolving in the decades ahead. What won’t change is Cleveland Clinic’s commitment to harnessing innovation to meet patients’ needs, just as the founders did when they made research a cornerstone of Cleveland Clinic.