Scientists have invented a unique imaging system that lights up tumors in the body when a laser is pointed at them. This invention will be instrumental in helping surgeons detect the cancerous region effectively during surgeries. Timely detection of the tumor may also help reduce the rate of recurrence of different forms of cancer.
Aaron Mohs, the co-inventor of the imaging system, has expressed hope that it would aid surgeons in removing cancerous tissues from the body. He pointed out that every surgeon’s aim during a cancer surgery is to completely remove the tumor and ensure that none of the tissues affected by the cancer are left behind. He pointed out that the new imaging system makes the tumor visible to surgeons and this makes it easier to remove. The surgeons can then double-check by using the laser and ensuring that none of the affected tissues remain in the body.
The new system involves the use of a fluorescent dye that accumulates in the region where the tumor is located. The surgeon then makes use of the imaging system, through which the normal tissues and the illuminated cancerous tissues can be displayed on a screen.
The system was tested on mice and dogs who had cancer. Through the tests, it was observed that the fluorescent dye accumulated the most in tumors and the surrounding tissue. The scientists were able to clearly differentiate between the normal tissues and the affected ones on a screen. Although the normal tissues also lit up to some extent, the cancerous tissues were way brighter. The scientists were able to detect a distinct boundary between the normal tissues in the animals and the tumor.
The tumors found in canines are known to be very similar in structure to human tumors. As the system worked on dogs, scientists believe that it would be effective in humans too. Scientists are now working to make the system more suitable to humans.
At present, the technology available to surgeons allows them to scan the body for tumors before surgery with the help of magnetic resonance imaging. However, it is very time-consuming as the cancer patient has to be removed from the operating table and placed into the machinery for the scan. This prolongs the surgery. The new imaging method could cut down on the surgery time and ensure that there are no traces of the tumor left in the body.