Researchers at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center say they have developed a multimodal optical spectroscopy probe that could provide better detection of common forms of cancer, enabling longer life expectancies and lower risk of recurrence.
The team, which began work on the probe in 2015, have refined the invention and designed a new device with improved accuracy, sensitivity and specificity that they claim is capable of not only detecting brain cancer cells – but colon, lung and skin cancer cells as well.
The research team claims the sensor has a near 100% sensitivity, going as far as to call it ‘infallible.’ Details from a study of the device were published this month in the journal Cancer Research.
The research team has now perfected the invention and designed a new device with improved accuracy, sensitivity and specificity, capable of detecting not only brain cancer cells but colon, lung and skin cancer cells as well. In intraoperative testing, the multimodal optical spectroscopy probe detected cancer cells infallibly, with nearly 100 per cent sensitivity–in other words, when pointed at a cancerous region, the probe is never wrong.
This breakthrough, details of which were published on June 28 in the American Association for Cancer Research journal Cancer Research, is the outcome of collaborative efforts between engineer Frédéric Leblond and neurosurgical oncology specialist Dr. Kevin Petrecca.
“Minimizing, or completely eliminating, the number of cancer cells during surgery is a critical part of cancer treatment, yet detecting cancer cells during surgery is challenging. Often it is impossible to visually distinguish cancer from normal brain, so invasive brain cancer cells frequently remain after surgery, leading to cancer recurrence and a worse prognosis. Surgically minimizing the number of cancer cells improves patient outcomes. A technology with extremely high accuracy is necessary, since surgeons will be using this information to help determine if tissues contain cancer cells or not. An important feature of this device is its broad applicability. We found that it effectively detects multiple cancer types, including brain, lung, colon, and skin cancers” study author Dr. Kevin Petrecca of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital said in a press release.
The system would allow surgeons to use it in real time to detect cancer cells, according to the report, a determination which is difficult to make with the naked eye.
“The probe we’ve designed enables detection of nearly 100 per cent of cancer cells in the brain. This is a very important advance. We’ve also been able to demonstrate the effectiveness of our technology in treating other forms of cancer. This means that more patients will benefit from better diagnosis, more effective treatment, and lower risk of recurrence,” Dr. Frédéric Leblond of the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre said in a prepared statement.
Dr. Petrecca and Leblond created the company ODS Medical to commercialize the probe in 2015, and are seeking FDA approval for the device in the future.
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