Successful trial of optical imaging of tissue during cancer surgery
13 September 2007
Optical imaging company Michelson Diagnostics Ltd
(MDL) has announced successful initial results from clinical testing in
cancer surgery of its groundbreaking optical coherence tomography (OCT)
Michelson Diagnostics EX1301 OCT
The tests, performed on cancerous and precancerous human oesophagus and
lymph node tissue, were designed to establish the potential for MDL’s
optical imaging technology to revolutionise cancer surgery.
Surgical removal of a tumour is often essential for a cure. Surgeons must
be sure that they have cut a safe ‘margin’ of healthy tissue around the
tumour to ensure that none is left behind. This is difficult, because
removing too much may severely affect the patient’s quality of life and
removing too little means that cancerous tissue may be left behind.
Surgeons sometimes take biopsy samples of tissue in the tumour margin for
laboratory analysis, but have to wait for the result before they can resume
the operation. This is very expensive and inefficient.
Now MDL offers a
potential solution by providing high-resolution sub-surface images of
excised tissue during the operation using OCT. The surgeon can scan the
tumour margins and decide, in real time, where to cut.
OCT provides images of soft tissue at far higher resolution than is
possible with ultrasound or MRI scans.
The tests, which were conducted by
partner Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, involved comparing
images taken by the OCT scanner of the tissue samples, with histopathology
images analyzed by trained pathologists.
OCT image of human oesophagus
tissue, taken with EX1301 OCT scanner, showing oesophagus and
dysplastic areas with apparent loss of tissue structure. Image
courtesy of Dr Nick Stone, Head of Biophotonics Research,
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital Trust.
Biophotonics expert at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Mr Florian
Bazant-Hegemark, said “Clinical features of oesophagus tissue and of lymph
nodes can be established, in real time, with the MDL OCT scanner. This is
very exciting, because it means that OCT scanning has a realistic chance of
guiding biopsy and of reducing the need for biopsy, which could speed up
cancer operations, reduce the pressure on overloaded pathology departments,
and improve outcomes from cancer surgery”. He adds: “The next stage is to
confirm these preliminary results in large double-blinded trials”.
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