Colors Make Surgery More Precise
Reported August 20, 2008
(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Cancer surgeries may soon get more colorful and more precise.
Researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have developed a new imaging system that highlights cancerous tissue, making it easier for surgeons to see and remove it with less damage to normal tissue. The technique could especially improve surgery for tumors whose boundaries are hard to track at advanced stages such as breast, prostate, and lung cancer.
This technique is really the first time that cancer surgeons can see structures that are otherwise invisible, providing true image-guided surgery, project director, John Frangioni, M.D., Ph.D., Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was quoted as saying. If were able to see cancer, we have a chance of curing it.
The new technology is called FLARE Fluorescence-Assisted Resection and Exploration. It is made up of a near-infrared (NIR) imaging system, a video monitor, and a computer.
FLARE uses NIR fluorophores special chemical dyes designed to target specific structures when theyre injected into patients. When theyre exposed to NIR light, the dyes light up the cancer cells and can be seen on a video monitor. Images of these glowing cancer cells are then superimposed over images of the normal surgical field. Researchers say this allows surgeons to easily see the cancer cells even in a background crowded by blood and other anatomical structures.
Frangioni says the system is similar to the old color-by-number paint sets. It gives surgeons a way of cutting by color instead of coloring by numbers.
So far, the system has been used successfully in pigs. The first human clinical trials should begin this summer.
SOURCE: 236th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 17-21, 2008