CANADIAN RESEARCHERS DEVELOP FIBRE-OPTIC PROBE TO DETECT CANCER CELLS DURING BRAIN SURGERY

Jun 28, 2017

By Jane Brown

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Canadian scientists have developed a fibre-optic probe that can detect errant cancer cells within healthy tissue during brain tumour surgery with close to 100 per cent accuracy and sensitivity.

The hand-held, pen-like instrument, known as a Raman spectroscopy probe, is able to differentiate between cancer cells and healthy cells.

The process, which involves optics and computer science, takes less than 10 seconds, allowing neurosurgeons to target malignant cells for removal without having to send a tissue sample to the pathology lab.

Dr. Kevin Petrecca, the chief of neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute who helped design the probe, says minimizing, or completely eliminating, the number of cancer cells during surgery is a critical part of cancer treatment.

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