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Surgical robot from Imperial College London and St Mary’s NHS Trust to star in latest Bond film


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-St Mary's NHS Trust web site
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Under embargo for
00:01 BST
13 November 2002

The UKs first robot surgeon used by specialists from Imperial College London and St Marys Hospital in Paddington has received a starring role in the latest James Bond blockbuster, Die Another Day, produced by Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli and directed by Lee Tamahori.

The robot, named Da Vinci, was developed as the first minimal access system to eliminate tremor in a surgeons hand. It features in an early scene in the movie scanning Bonds body and taking a blood sample.

Professor Ara Darzi, from Imperial College London at St Marys Hospital, says: Surgeons and spies are alike as both aspire to serve their subjects with minimal fuss while using the best technologies around. Bond films have always been an inspiration to those with a technology interest. I never thought that one day the department I headed would be making a contribution. Its great that Imperial College and the NHSs knowhow has made it to the movie screen.

Since first arriving in St Marys theatres, Da Vinci has been used to successfully operate on over 60 patients with a range of abdominal, urological and oesophageal problems. The minimally invasive approach means quicker recovery for patients from what is often major surgery and the academic surgical teams current challenge is preparing for the first totally endoscopic (keyhole) operation on the beating heart.

Peter Lamont, Production Designer for the film comments: Id seen the Da Vinci on Tomorrows World and in Time magazine. Its an amazing machine for non-invasive surgery and I thought wed have to make a mock-up. I was delighted when we found it at St Marys.

Peter Lamont and Art Director Mark Harris spent time at St Marys learning about the machines ingenuity as they practised sewing stitches, picking up balls and putting them in boxes, all part of standard practice for those learning how to operate the machine.

Sarah Robinson, Product Placement Co-ordinator, adds: Both the producers and director thought this machine was fantastic; its a very important part of the film. Its very difficult to keep up with new technology - we have to be one step ahead and try and come up with great new products which is where the Da Vinci came in. It was also incredible to see St Marys Hospital - we had a great day. We were definitely in awe of the work carried out there - our world is fantasy whereas St Marys is real - we dont save lives.

Professor Ara Darzi, Consultant Surgeon Tim Rockall and Nurse Practitioner in Surgical Technology Shirley Martin will be among the guests attending the official Die Another Day premiere on Wednesday 13 November.

-ends-

For more information, please contact:

Tony Stephenson
Imperial College London Press Office
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7594 6712
Mobile: +44 (0)7753 739 766
E-mail: at.stephenson@imperial.ac.uk

Claire Burroughs
St Marys NHS Trust Press Office
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7886 6704
E-mail: claire.burroughs@st-marys.nhs.uk

Notes to editors:

1. Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (10,000) and staff (5,000) of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture. Website: www.imperial.ac.uk

On 14 October 2002 Imperial College London and University College London began to explore the possibility of merger to create a new, globally competitive university committed to teaching, scholarship and research. Together the two university institutions would form Britain's biggest university with a combined annual turnover in 2001 of £802 million, research income of £407 million, 3200 academic staff and over 28,000 students. A decision on whether to proceed with merger is expected in December 2002.

2. St Marys NHS Trust was named a three star NHS Trust in July, the highest possible Government performance rating. A teaching hospital, it has a comprehensive range of acute and specialist services delivered from two main sites: St Marys Hospital in Paddington, and The Western Eye Hospital in Marylebone Road. It covers a 13 mile area including Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea, and South Brent, and incorporating more than 349,000 residents and employing over 3,000 staff.

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