Cancer surgeons may soon have a new tool at their disposal for more precise tumor removal. A fluorescence imaging system that can be used during surgery has been developed by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.
The new system, which is described in the journal Nature Medicine, uses a near-infrared laser and a genetically encoded fluorescent protein to light up cancer cells so they can be more easily seen and removed.
“Right now, surgeons use their eyes and conventional lighting to try to find and remove all the cancerous tissue,” said lead author Samuel T. Wilson, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of neurosurgery at Washington University and Barrow. “But cancer cells can be very sneaky, and it’s difficult to know if all of them have been removed. This technology could help surgeons be much more precise in tumor removal and potentially improve patient outcomes.”
The system is still in its early stages, and more research is needed to determine if it is safe and effective. But the researchers are hopeful that it will one day be used routinely in the operating room.
“This technology has the potential to revolutionize cancer surgery,” said senior author Brian P. Wilson, MD, PhD, the Dorothy L. and James E. Burke Jr. Endowed Chair in Surgery and a professor of neurosurgery at Washington University. “We are hopeful that it will one day help surgeons more precisely target cancerous tissue and spare healthy tissue.”
Scientists have developed a new imaging system that could help surgeons remove more cancerous tissue during operations.
The system, called ClearPEM, uses a technique called fluorescence imaging to makecancerous tissue glow in the operating room. This allows surgeons to more easily identify and remove all of the cancerous tissue, while avoiding healthy tissue.
ClearPEM was tested on animal models and was found to be accurate in identifying cancerous tissue. The next step is to test the system on human patients.
If ClearPEM is found to be effective in humans, it could revolutionize cancer surgery. Currently, surgeons often have to remove more healthy tissue than necessary to be sure they get all of the cancer. This can lead to side effects and complications.
With ClearPEM, surgeons would be able to remove only the cancerous tissue, which would improve patient outcomes.
The development of ClearPEM is a promising step forward in the fight against cancer.