Surgeries to remove cancerous cells are usually the first line of defense for patients with newly discovered tumors. However, it can often be difficult for surgeons to remove the cancer completely without damaging healthy tissue or leaving tumor cells behind. Researchers at Washington University have made a development which could potentially improve the accuracy of procedures to surgically remove cancer cells with the use of prototype glasses that make cancer cells glow blue. The technology is based on prior studies done with optical projection of acquired luminescence (OPAL), and molecular markers are introduced into the area where the surgery will be performed, and a video system detects and displays the now blue cancer cells.
The first studies with the eyeglasses involved mice and results were published in October of 2013, however the first human trial of the surgery was performed February 10, 2014. The surgery was performed on a patient with breast cancer, and the operating surgeon said that while the prototype could still use improvements, the eyeglasses showed promise and could potentially reduce and eliminate the need for follow-up surgeries. Another surgery using the prototype glasses will be performed in late February 2014 on a patient with melanoma.
To get a glimpse at the surgeon’s view in the glasses, watch the video above.