Researchers develop a probe that helps detect cancers cells with almost 100% accuracy

Thursday 29 June 2017

A probe that was first developed by researchers in Canada in 2015 has since been perfected by the team

The probe detected brain cancer cells during surgery was developed by scientists from Polytechnique Montréal, the University of Montreal Hospital Research Center (CRCHUM), the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro), McGill University, and the MUHC.

The new device boasts improved accuracy and can detect not only brain cancer cells but lung, colon and skin cancer cells too.

During testing the probe achieved almost one-hundred percent sensitivity. This means that when the probe is pointed at a cancerous region, it is almost never wrong.

"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," explains Dr. Petrecca, Chief of Neurosurgery at the Neuro.

"Often it is impossible to visually distinguish cancer from normal brain… Surgically minimizing the number of cancer cells improves patient outcomes."

This technology is currently being investigated in a randomized controlled trial involving patients with gliomas.

It is the hope that this innovation will allow surgeons to detect cancer cells with the naked eye, in real time, while in surgery.

If surgeons are able to remove more cancer cells during surgery patient outcomes significantly improve and the risk of recurrence is reduced.