The Project Funding Agreement BG05M2OP001-1.002-0010-C01 “CENTER OF COMPETENCE IN THE FIELD OF PERSONALIZED MEDICINE, 3D AND TELEMEDICINE, ROBOTIC-ASSISTED AND MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGERY” was signed on 26.07.2018, funded by Operational Programme “Science and Education for Smart Growth” and the European Regional Development Fund. The total project cost is 23 695 179,29 BGN, of which 20 140 902,40 BGN European and 3 554 276,89 BGN national co-funding. The project starts on 27.07.2018 and ends on 31.12.2023. The leading organization in the project implementation is Medical University – Pleven (MU-Pleven) and the main partners are Medical University “Prof. Dr. Paraskev Stoyanov” – Varna and the Institute of System Engineering and Robotics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (ISER – BAS). Associated partners in the creation of the Center of Competence are: UMHAT “St. Marina” – Varna; UMHAT “Dr. Georgi Stranski” EAD, Pleven; Innovation Solutions Company “5th Degree” and Florida Hospital Cancer Institute, USA.
The main activities under the project are: project organization and management; creation of a new infrastructure and modernization of the existing one; conducting research, development and innovation activities; dissemination of the research results, intellectual property protection, knowledge and technology transfer and human resources development; publicity and visualization, and project audit.
The aim of the project is to create an innovative, high-tech and modern competence center in the field of personalized medicine, telemedicine and 3D medicine, robotic-assisted and minimally invasive surgery, to achieve excellence in research and in the training of specialists, who will enhance the competitiveness of the existing institutions and stimulate entrepreneurship in the region and the country. Over the next 10 years the Center will operate on the basis of a high-tech, pro-innovative infrastructure, including equipment and specialized software. This will create opportunities for research and development, new knowledge and technology transfer, training of undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD students, and other clinical professionals in the targeted areas: General Surgery, Gynecology, Urology, ENT, Orthopedics, Pathology, Medical Genetics, etc. The Center will continue its partners’ mission through offering innovative, attractive and modern education, and will expand the opportunities, quality and form of training and research. The services supporting the access to new knowledge are based on the experience gained by the specialists working for the main partners under the project: Medical University – Pleven, Medical University “Prof. Dr. Paraskev Stoyanov” – Varna and the Institute of System Engineering and Robotics at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The human resources and infrastructure of the associated partners will be used gratuitously for the implementation of a part of the activities under the project. The Center will initiate cooperation with leading European and global technology partners that will enhance the efficiency of its achievements, hence the financial sustainability after the project completion. All this will contribute to the increase of the number of developed and successfully implemented innovative products, processes and services in the scientific field.
The following departments with appropriate laboratories are planned to be set up within the Center of Competence: Personalized Medicine, 3D Medicine, Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) and Robotic-Assisted Surgery. The expected results and effects of the project implementation are: creating diagnostic panels for breast cancer, ovarian carcinoma, lung and colon cancer, the most common hereditary diseases for the Bulgarian population and genetic predispositions; improving the possibilities for prevention of hereditary diseases, based on a personalized approach in genomic tests of pre-reproductive couples. There will be a telemedicine center with opportunities for telesurgery, telepatology, telemedicine and 3D telestration, aimed at conducting consultations with other global centers, specialized training and research. Suitable for 3D printing patient-specific orthotics will be developed and patented; bioprinted tissue transplants will be created; as well as model organs for conducting training in minimally invasive and robotic-assisted surgery. A complete process for research and training of surgeons, young doctors and students will be developed through 360-degree live stream virtual reality surgery. Clinical algorithms for optimal, faster introduction and promotion of minimally invasive and robotic-assisted surgery in the clinical practice in Bulgaria through innovation in education will be created. Experimental models for helium insufflation in body cavities, miniature thermal camera technology, pressure microsensors for the needs of MIS will be developed and patented. The development and patenting of a robotic surgical simulator and the creation of a training model, using 3D printed organs, are expected. Implementation of joint research projects, developed by the Center of Competence and the business, and acquisition of intellectual property rights are planned.