The medical world is making a big breakthrough in today’s world of medicine. A team led by Samuel Achilefu, PhD, professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at Washington University have created high-tech glasses that help surgeons visualize cancer cells. These glasses, which are so new that they have yet to be named, use video technology, a head-mounted display and a targeted molecular agent that attaches to cancer cells and make them appear blue when seen through the glasses.
These glasses were used for the first time during surgery by breast surgeon Julie Margenthaler, MD, on February 10, 2014. The glasses are still in the early stages of development and further testing is needed to be done. These were intended to prevent the need of follow up surgeries for patients. Patients with cancer, like breast cancer, often have to have a second surgery to make sure they have removed the entire tumor. After having a first surgery, today’s technology doesn’t adequately show the extent of the disease. With the use of these glasses, the cancer cells will be made visible due to the molecular agent, and will allow the surgeon to see the affected area.
Although these glasses are bringing tumor imaging to the operating room, they are not the only piece of technology that is helping with this discovery. Other researchers have been modifying a surgical knife that uses heat to cut through tissue to determine if the tissue is cancerous or not. With these new advancements in technology, fatalities may be reduced in cancer patients in the future.