robot arm holding a syringe


Find out more about the CoBra Project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund

The CoBra project aims to improve the quality of both diagnosis and treatment of localised cancers by developing a new medical robot prototype for brachytherapy and biopsy guided by CTs or MRIs scanners.

The main goal of the project is to improve the quality of the patient’s life and reduce the chances of fatality.

The Programme covers the 2 Seas area, which includes the coastal regions of England, France, Belgium (Flanders) and the Netherlands. These areas are connected by the Channel and the North Sea, and have a combined population of 29 million people.

Despite this, very few Brachytherapy centres exist in the area – meaning that resident patients often need to travel outside the 2 Seas region to access the appropriate treatments.

But by using the complimentary skills and resources available within the 2 seas region, the CoBra project – one of the largest cross-border Programmes in Europe – aims to develop technological innovations that can remedy this issue.

Interreg 2 seas logo

CoBra is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which aims to strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union by correcting imbalances between its regions.

CoBra strategy


Our aim is to develop a prototype medical robot for the diagnosis and treatment of localised cancers with brachytherapy and biopsy under the guidance of CT and MRI scanners.


We will initiate a training programme for practitioners and physicists on MRI based robotic brachytherapy and biopsy in the 2 Seas region.


To build a map that will allow the placing of this technology in areas with the highest access to the population in the 2 Seas region.

Specialisation in diagnostic equipment

There are a number of large companies specialising in diagnostic equipment for cancer by imaging or biopsy,

Specialising in Radiological Cancer Treatment

Our observer partners, Elektra and Philips, have recently started specialising in coupling diagnosis and treatment for external radiotherapy.

Develop biopsy guidance devices

We will develop biopsy guidance devices in the same way as companies such as Demcon.


The University of Lille will contribute to the development of the robot and TU Delft will develop steerable needles under the control of MRI's. We will work on the optimisation of the treatment plan and the best location of the robot within the South of England.

The Centre Oscar Lambret and NHS Portsmouth Hospital have extensive experience in the localised treatment of prostate cancer and other types of tumours.

The team of investigators at University of Portsmouth are:

Dylan Francis Jones Portrait

Professor Dylan Jones

Professor of Operational Research

School of Mathematics and Physics

Faculty of Technology

PhD Supervisor

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Ashraf Wasfi Labib Portrait

Professor Ashraf Labib

Professor of Operations and Asset Management

Operations and Systems Management

Faculty of Business and Law

PhD Supervisor

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Universite de lille logo
Centre Oscar Lambret logo
Demcon logo
Portsmouth NHS hospital logo
TUdelft logo
SATT Nord Logo
Oncovert logo
Eckert logo
Elektra logo
KUKA logo
Marvis MRI company logo
Phillips logo
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