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UBC researchers to lead $4.7-million study on early-stage oral cancer
Date:5/27/2011

Researchers from the University of British Columbia's Faculties of Medicine, Science and Dentistry are leading a $4.7-million pan-Canadian clinical trial aimed at improving outcomes for patients undergoing surgery for oral squamous cell cancers.

Funded by the Terry Fox Research Institute, the Canadian Optically Guided Approach for Oral Lesions Surgical Trial, or COOLS Study, involves universities and hospitals in nine Canadian cities. Findings from the study could revolutionize clinical practice here and around the world.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, an estimated 3,400 Canadians are diagnosed with oral cancer every year. In 2010, the estimated number of deaths due to oral cancer was 1,150. Currently, about 30 per cent of patients who receive oral surgery have their cancer recur. The COOLS Study will investigate the effectiveness of a fluorescence visualization, or "blue light," to distinguish between healthy tissues from tumours or pre-cancerous cells in the mouth. Under the blue light, normal tissue generates a fluorescence which is absent in tumour or pre-cancerous tissue.

"In work we've conducted to date in Vancouver, there has been almost no recurrence where surgery followed the contour of the lesion shown by using FV-guided surgery. Working together with surgeons, pathologists, research staff and scientists, this TFRI-funded study will enable us to test the approach on a broader cohort of patients at sites across the country and obtain the evidence required to change current practice." says principal investigator Dr. Catherine Poh, a senior scientist with BC Cancer Agency, an associate professor at the UBC Faculty of Dentistry and a consulting dentist at Vancouver General Hospital.

"Our surgical community has expressed great interest in participating in this trial which provides an unique and important opportunity to assess a surgical intervention in a controlled prospective manner across many sites," says p
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Contact: Brian Lin
brian.lin@ubc.ca
604-822-2234
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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