WASHINGTON, June 19, 2014Before they excise a tumor, surgeons need to determine exactly where the cancerous cells lie. Now, research published today in The Optical Society's (OSA) journal Optics Letters details a new technique that could give surgeons cheaper and more lightweight tools, such as goggles or hand-held devices, to identify tumors in real time in the operating room.
The new technology, developed by a team at the University of Arizona and Washington University in St. Louis, is a dual-mode imager that combines two systemsnear-infrared fluorescent imaging to detect marked cancer cells and visible light reflectance imaging to see the contours of the tissue itselfinto one small, lightweight package approximately the size of a quarter in diameter, just 25 millimeters across.
"Dual modality is the path forward because it has significant advantages over single modality," says author Rongguang Liang, associate professor of optical sciences at the University of Arizona.
Interest in multi-modal imaging technology has surged over the last 10 years, says Optics Letters topical editor Brian Applegate of Texas A&M University, who was not involved in the research. People have realized that in order to better diagnose diseases like cancer, he says, you need information from a variety of sources, whether it's fluorescence imaging, optical imaging or biochemical markers.
"By combining different modalities together, you get a much better picture of the tissue," which could help surgeons make sure they remove every last bit of the tumor and as small amount of healthy tissue as possible, Applegate says.
Currently, doctors can inject fluorescent dyes into a patient to help them pinpoint cancer cells. The dyes converge onto the diseased cells, and when doctors shine a light of a particular wavelength
|Contact: Lyndsay Meyer|
The Optical Society