Home pagePress monitoringNew device accurately identifies cancer in seconds

New device accurately identifies cancer in seconds

Date: 8.9.2017 

A team of scientists and engineers at The University of Texas at Austin has invented a powerful tool that rapidly and accurately identifies cancerous tissue during surgery, delivering results in about 10 seconds – more than 150 times as fast as existing technology. 
Kredit: University of Texas at Austin.

The MasSpec Pen is an innovative handheld instrument that gives surgeons precise diagnostic information about what tissue to cut or preserve, helping improve treatment and reduce the chances of cancer recurrence.

"If you talk to cancer patients after surgery, one of the first things many will say is 'I hope the surgeon got all the cancer out,' " says Livia Schiavinato Eberlin, an assistant professor of chemistry at UT Austin who designed the study and led the team. "It's just heartbreaking when that's not the case. But our technology could vastly improve the odds that surgeons really do remove every last trace of cancer during surgery."

The current state-of-the-art method for diagnosing cancers and determining the boundary between cancer and normal tissue during surgery, called Frozen Section Analysis, is slow and sometimes inaccurate. Each sample can take 30 minutes or more to prepare and interpret by a pathologist, which increases the risk to the patient of infection and negative effects of anesthesia. And for some types of cancers, frozen section interpretation can be difficult, yielding unreliable results in as many as 10 to 20 percent of cases.

However, in tests on tissues removed from 253 human cancer patients, the MasSpec Pen took about 10 seconds to provide a diagnosis and was more than 96 percent accurate. The technology was also able to detect cancer in marginal regions between normal and cancer tissues that presented mixed cellular composition. The team expects to start testing this new technology during oncologic surgeries in 2018.

 


 

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