Simulation Software Used to Develop a Device to Accurately Mark Cancers for Surgical Removal

Using Hexagon’s MSCOne platform, Asahi Intecc is developing minimally invasive tools to improve surgical outcomes in cancer patients.

In 2020 alone, over 19 million cancer cases were reported globally, and nearly 10 million people died due to cancer. With morbidity and mortality caused by the disease expected to rise over the next few decades, clinicians and scientists are continuing to innovate novel approaches to the treatment and prevention of cancer.

The global incidence of different types of cancer in 2020. (Image courtesy of the Global Cancer Observatory Twitter account @GLOBOCAN_GCO.)

The global incidence of different types of cancer in 2020. (Image courtesy of the Global Cancer Observatory Twitter account @GLOBOCAN_GCO.)

Asahi Intecc,­ a producer of medical and industrial wire, is now pushing the boundaries of cancer detection and treatment using advanced simulation software. With MSCOne, engineers at Asahi Intecc can access any CAE software within the Hexagon portfolio. The company’s team is now using simulation software to develop computational models of its medical technology.

The company uses Marc, a nonlinear structural analysis software (that is available in the Hexagon MSCOne suite) to help model and test a new delivery device that will transport markers to cancer to accurately tag tumors before endoscopic surgery. The final product helps to reduce the invasiveness of the procedure and improve the surgical accuracy to help improve patient recovery times.

The delivery device will add to the range of wire products made by Asahi Intecc with broad applications in medical and industrial products.

Asahi Intecc’s Guide Wires for Medical Products

A company focused on bringing cutting-edge research to market, most of Asahi Intecc’s products are used in medical devices that have various clinical applications. The company is best known for its innovations related to guide wires that are used in catheter technology. Its team develops, produces and sells guide wires for both guiding and balloon catheters. These devices treat everything from urinary retention to myocardial infarction.

Catheter-based treatments made by Asahi Intecc are gaining popularity over traditional medication or bypass interventions as a minimally invasive solution to common diseases like angina and blocked arteries.

Asahi Intecc now sells products for percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) to treat coronary blocks. The process begins with the company’s guiding catheters, which are placed at the puncture site of the coronary artery to allow the company’s guide wires to enter the patient’s body. The guide wires are integral for placing balloon catheters, stents and other devices into clogged blood vessels. Balloon catheters can be inserted directly into the coronary artery, and the narrowed area can then be opened by inflating the balloon to reduce arterial blockage. Use of this technique has improved patient outcomes and reduced recovery times compared to more traditional surgical procedures.

Production of these medical products relies on proprietary material processing technologies. Asahi Intecc’s torque technology is the most important part of its production process, allowing its guide wires to translate the delicate senses and motions of a physician all the way to the tip of a thin wire. The torque technology is combined with the company’s wire forming, drawing and coating technologies for various industrial and medical products.

An overview of Asahi Intecc’s four core components of its guide wire technology (Image courtesy of Asahi Intecc.)

An overview of Asahi Intecc’s four core components of its guide wire technology (Image courtesy of Asahi Intecc.)

Following the successful application of the company’s wire and catheter products in treating coronary artery diseases, Asahi Intecc is now developing a delivery device to help mark the edges of cancers to assist the surgical removal of tumors.

Optimizing Delivery Device for Cancer Markers Using Marc Software

Although modern CT scanners make it inexpensive and relatively easy to detect cancer, there are still limitations to the resolution of clinical scans. This is especially true for cancers detected early or in complicated anatomical locations like the lungs. In both cases, it can be challenging to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor for it to be removed properly during surgery. This can prolong surgical procedures, increase medical costs, and extend complications and recovery times for patients.

In 2020, Asahi Intecc invested in MSCOne, the software licensing system introduced by Hexagon to help engineers easily access all their CAE products. The company uses Marc to develop a model of its experimental delivery device that will help spot the edges of cancer before endoscopic surgery. In addition to Marc, with the MSCOne system, Asahi Intecc can also use Cradle scFLOW software to simulate the capabilities of the delivery device. The Cradle scFLOW software helps create reliable polyhedral mesh elements and construct detailed models of the device and its use.

Marc is a nonlinear structural analysis software that can accurately simulate the delivery device’s behavior in complex scenarios. Whether considering static, dynamic or multi-loaded scenarios, the software can predict how the device will behave in the complex environment of the human body. The simulation considers multiple nonlinearities, including geometric, material, boundary conditions and contact points. Marc is currently the only commercial software that can be used for simulation testing to predict device damage and failure.

“Marc’s advanced analysis makes it possible to confirm at the idea stage how the new structure will accurately perform, before taking the traditional steps of trial production and experimentation. It promotes fresher ideas and highlights manufacturing risks,” said Hiroyuki Aiba, a senior researcher at Asahi Intecc.

Asahi Intecc’s delivery device uses a coiled wire, known as a retaining fin, attached to the marker being placed at the cancer site. During delivery, the retaining fin is housed in a dedicated cylinder and is only ejected when it arrives at the cancer site. As a result, the deployment process occurs quickly, and the opening process is highly variable, making it difficult to test and optimize the device design.

With Marc, the Asahi research team can visualize all the possible variations in how the spring coils will be stored and deployed inside the body. The computational model can then help the team’s engineers assess how the delivery device will vary in different environments and is currently helping to accelerate development efforts. With a better idea of the device’s function and limitations, the engineers can accelerate their entire development process from prototype design to approved medical device.

MSCOne Is a Complete Software Solution from Hexagon

MSCOne includes a suite of simulation software designed for use by everyone from small to large-scale businesses. The subscription-based platform is designed to be flexible and allow engineers and data scientists to easily access all MSC CAE simulation software. The subscription uses a token-based system to access all software, including MSC Apex, Adams, SimManager and more. Engineers check out tokens from the pool and use them to access and run certain CAE software. Each software requires a different number of tokens, and after the software is used, the token is returned to the pool for future use.

In addition to the Marc software used by Asahi, MSCOne includes simulation programs for multibody dynamics, acoustics and fluids, manufacturing, materials, durability and more. In general, the software suite provides tools to simulate structural and fluid dynamics and assess the multiphysics behavior of various parts and devices. Learning tools are also included as part of the platform to assist with software implementation into design and manufacturing pipelines.

An overview of the MSC products included in MSCOne. (Image courtesy of MSC Software.)

An overview of the MSC products included in MSCOne. (Image courtesy of MSC Software.)

Simulation Software Accelerates Innovation

Using Asahi Intecc’s cancer-tagging delivery device as a case study, simulation software, like the programs included in MSCOne, can support research and development across industries. With powerful simulation technology, companies can better evaluate prototypes and new devices prior to large-scale manufacturing. Not only can this accelerate production of new devices, but it can also improve the durability and reliability of the final product. This can be a critical resource for design teams working on complex devices with nonlinear operations.