"This system is very easy to use and fits seamlessly in the way surgeons do open and laparoscopic surgery, which is the direction most surgeries are headed in the future," said van Dam, who is a surgeon in the division of surgical oncology and Bio-Optical Imaging Center at the University of Groningen. "I think this technology will revolutionize surgical vision. I foresee it becoming a new standard in cancer surgery in a very short time."
Research has shown that the less cancerous tissue that remains, the easier it is for chemotherapy or immunotherapy to work, Low said.
"With ovarian cancer it is clear that the more cancer you can remove, the better the prognosis for the patient," he said. "This is why we chose to begin with ovarian cancer. It seemed like the best place to start to make a difference in people's lives."
By focusing on removal of malignant tissue as opposed to evaluating patient outcome, Low dramatically reduced the amount of time the clinical trial would take to complete.
"What we are really after is a better outcome for patients, but if we had instead designed the clinical trial to evaluate the impact of fluorescence-guided surgery on life expectancy, we would have had to follow patients for years and years," he said. "By instead evaluating if we can identify and remove more malignant tissue with the aid of fluorescence imaging, we are able to quantify the impact of this novel approach within two hours after surgery. We hope this will allow the technology to be approved for general use in a much shorter time."
Low and his team are now making arrangements to work with the Mayo Clinic for the next phase of clinical trials.
The technology is based on Low's discovery that folic acid, or folate, can be used like a Trojan horse to snea
|Contact: Elizabeth K. Gardner|