At RSNA 2016 in Chicago, SurgVision, a Dutch firm, was showing off its intra-surgical molecular probe fluorescence imaging system designed for excising hard to spot tumors. The system relies on novel dyes attached to tumor-seeking antibodies and a multi-spectral fluorescence imaging camera to spot the dye within tissue.
The imaging system uses multiple cameras and an array of LEDs, both near-infrared and white light ones, to differentiate between normal tissue and tissue that has a concentration of the dye present. Near-infrared light is used to excite the dye and to produce fluorescence that the cameras can see. White light is used to capture the field of view in order to overlay the location of the tumor on top of it.
The system does not actually project what it’s seeing onto the anatomy, so the surgeon has to look at a screen. In the future, though, projection could be integrated or another solution, such as a Microsoft HoloLens, used so that the location of the tumor appears right on top of the actual anatomy.
There’s also work on one day using this technology for photodynamic therapy, but that would require a dual-labeled marker that would fluoresce when excited by one wavelength of light and heat up when illuminated by another.
Though the company is Dutch, it’s a spinoff of the Technical University of Munich. They hold a number of patents for their technology, and are looking to bring their imaging device and matching tracer to market sometime within the next couple of years. The company has already done six clinical trials, of which two have been fully completed, and half a dozen papers have already been published. The SurgVision is available for clinical research, but in the U.S. there still needs to be a Phase III 510(k) clinical trial for it to receive clearance for clinical use.
Take a look at this video presenting the SurgVision system: