Academic journal article Journal of College Science Teaching

Special Glasses Help Surgeons "See" Cancer

Academic journal article Journal of College Science Teaching

Special Glasses Help Surgeons "See" Cancer

Article excerpt

New, high-tech glasses may help surgeons visualize cancer cells, which glow blue when viewed through the eyewear. Cancer cells are notoriously difficult to see, even under high-powered magnification. The glasses are designed to make it easier for surgeons to distinguish cancer cells from healthy cells, helping to ensure that no stray tumor cells are left behind during surgery.

"We're in the early stages of this technology, and more development and testing will be done, but we're certainly encouraged by the potential benefits to patients," said breast surgeon Julie Margenthaler, who performed the first operation using the glasses. "Imagine what it would mean if these glasses eliminated the need for follow-up surgery and the associated pain, inconvenience, and anxiety."

Current standard of care requires surgeons to remove the tumor and some neighboring tissue that may or may not include cancer cells. The samples are sent to a pathology lab and viewed under a microscope. If cancer cells are found in neighboring tissue, a second surgery often is recommended to remove additional tissue that also is checked for the presence of cancer.

The glasses could reduce the need for additional surgical procedures and subsequent stress on patients, as well as time and expense.

"Our hope is that this new technology will reduce or ideally eliminate the need for a second surgery," said Margenthaler. …

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