A collaboration between researchers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis has led to the development of a highly sensitive new camera for detecting fluorescent markers tagged on cancer tumors. It is smaller, more accurate, and relies on cheaper parts than existing devices used to detect the same near-infrared fluorescent dyes. The camera owes some of its capabilities to the eye of the morpho butterly, which was studied to understand how butterflies see so well in certain light frequencies.
The camera’s sensing abilities have been combined with an augmented-reality headset to give a surgeon an intuitive view of tumor tissue among similar looking healthy tissue. As the surgeon removes diseased tissue, less and less is highlighted in the augmented reality headset. Once the headset doesn’t highlight anything at all, the surgeon can be pretty confident that what needed to be removed is gone while little else has been damaged.
The technology has already been tested in laboratory mice and in a small number of breast cancer cases.
Here’s a video that gives a glimpse of what the surgeon sees using the new technology while removing a breast cancer tumor:
Via: The Optical Society…