Researchers at University of Waterloo in Canada have developed a new imaging system that can detect the edges of tumours accurately and in real-time. The imaging system requires a new technique called photoacoustic remote sensing microscopy and works by sending laser light pulses into targeted tissue, which absorbs them, heats up, expands and produces soundwaves. A second laser reads those soundwaves, which are then processed to determine if the tissue is cancerous or non-cancerous. The team have used the system to make accurate images of thick, untreated human tissue samples for the first time ever, and the now their research will extend to imaging fresh tissue samples taken during surgeries, integrating the technology into a surgical microscope and then ultimately using the system on patients during operations.
“Elimination of secondary oncological surgeries on the horizon“
Research lead Parsin Haji Reza, a systems design engineering professor at Waterloo and director of the PhotoMedicine Labs at Waterloo, said: “This is the future, a huge step towards our ultimate goal of revolutionising surgical oncology. Intraoperatively, during surgery, the surgeon will be able to see exactly what to cut and how much to cut. This will have a tremendous impact on the economics of healthcare, be amazing for patients and give clinicians a great new tool. It will save a great deal of time and money and anxiety.”