NICO Announces Collaboration with Hitachi Aloka Medical to Create Improved Visualization for Difficult to Reach Brain Tumors

NEW ORLEANS, LA -- Neurosurgical device manufacturer NICO Corporation and surgical ultrasound leader Hitachi Aloka Medical America, Inc. collaborate to provide neurosurgeons real-time, intraoperative imaging to assist with greater extent of resection when accessing brain tumors using the NICO BrainPath.

"The new Hitachi Aloka ultrasound probe provides real-time intraoperative imaging feedback with the economics and efficiency of an ultrasound," says Juan Alzate, MD, neurosurgeon with The American Center for Spine and Neurosurgery and Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Chicago. "With the immediate feedback it provides surgeons within a minimally invasive corridor, they can confirm location of the brain tumor, proximity of nearby vessels that may be encountered beyond the direct field of view and confirms the extent of the resection."

In the U.S. alone, nearly 500,000 patients are diagnosed each year with brain abnormalities such as tumors and hemorrhagic stroke. Due to the location of the abnormality and the complex nature of the brain, over 50 percent of those patients have few, if any, effective surgical treatment options. While surgical resection followed by adjuvant therapy is considered the gold standard for neurosurgical treatment of brain tumors, the risks of debilitating deficits has been too great until now to attempt many of these surgeries.

A unique surgical approach to these subcortical abnormalities using the BrainPath has been used in over 2,500 procedures at over 60 institutions throughout the United States. In some cases, visualization of the tumor can be difficult without creating a larger access point, increasing the chances of deficits. The new Hitachi Aloka ultrasound probe, still under development, is specifically designed for use with the BrainPath. It uses ultrasound technology to assist surgeons in precisely and efficiently locating tumors beyond their direct vision in the surgical field. Both companies are attending the 2015 Congress of Neurological Surgeons this week, NICO in booth #116 and Hitachi Aloka Medical in booth #1137.

This collaboration comes just one month after NICO announced that, based on the evaluation of the clinical effectiveness and documented patient outcomes when using BrainPath, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the BrainPath clearance for specific indications for subcortical access to brain tumors, cysts and vascular disease. These developments, combined with the more than 300 neurosurgeons, residents and fellows now trained on BrainPath, help clear the way for surgeons to use these technologies for the greater benefit of patients.

"This complementary imaging tool is an important advancement in visualization for subcortical surgery," said Jim Pearson, president and CEO of NICO Corporation. "The neurosurgical field is rapidly adopting new devices to expand treatment capabilities as the population ages and the number of cases increase.

"BrainPath is at the center of this growth due to its ability to uniquely provide atraumatic subcortical access, providing a platform for other innovative, neurosurgical device companies to partner with us in creating better options for patients," Pearson added. "What we are seeing is expansion of the addressable market in neurosurgery right before our eyes."

David Famiglietti, president and GM of Hitachi Aloka Medical America, said Hitachi Aloka Medical's ultrasound imaging is being used by surgeons in various disciplines to improve accuracy and precision during the resection of tumors.

"For a field as complex as neurosurgery, we are excited to partner with NICO on this innovative new solution for minimally invasive, yet highly effective surgical site visualization and access," Famiglietti said. "Ultimately, our goal is to provide patients with brain abnormalities both better and safer options for treatment."

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