Tumour removal with a cancer cell clear margin

September 14, 2018, CORDIS
Tumour removal with a cancer cell clear margin
Credit: Benjamin Franklin Pierce

A biopsy reporting that cancer cells are still in the margin indicates a likelihood of cancer cells remaining in the body. An EU-funded project, IMAGINE, has developed a unique tissue 'optical biopsy' technology to assess tumour margins.

Positive cancerous margins after surgery lead to an increased risk of progression and reduced disease-free survival. However, obtaining clear margins of cancerous lesions can be very challenging during surgery.

Early identification and adequate surgical intervention are critical measures for reducing the -related mortality rates and cost burden on society. The inability to visualise the margin infiltration of cancers represents a significant challenge in many areas of oncology. Currently, the border is examined in the excised tumour. The first step is performed during the operation and the second after the procedure. This approach is labour intensive with an inherent risk of leaving in situ or even spreading the disease.

Radical new imaging technology in cancer surgery

The IMAGINE (Widefield Raman imaging probe for intraoperative margin assessment of cancers) project developed a platform technology that can be used for intraoperative cancer margin assessment. "By designing the first widefield Raman prototype for surgery and its assembly, we can now image phantoms (tissue constructs mimicking the optical properties of tissues) and human cells/tissues," outlines the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action (MSCA) fellow heading up the research, Dr. Mads Bergholt.

Raman spectroscopy is a unique label-free optical technique based on inelastic light scattering that offers tissue 'optical biopsy' at molecular level. This new type of imaging could increase the targeting selectivity to accurately identify tumour cells. As such, "this could potentially improve surgery outcomes as well as reduce health care expenses and burden on the individual patient," explains Dr. Bergholt.

Spreading the word on tissue optical properties

Hosted by Prof. Molly Stevens' group at Imperial College London (ICL), the multinational culture and multidisciplinary environment witnessed successful analysis of pig and mouse cancer cells and tissues. "The (MSCA) Fellowship has directly given rise to concrete outputs in the form of publications and conference presentations including Nature Communications, Science Advances, ACS Central Science and Nature Partner Journals Regenerative Medicine," says Dr. Bergholt.

"We are also finalising a manuscript on my research of tissue optical properties and Monte Carlo modelling of photon transportation in tissue," he continues. Based on the results obtained from the Stevens Group, Bergholt has delivered several seminars in different universities including University of Southern Denmark, Sheffield University and King's College London. "Additionally, I presented my research at the largest biophotonics conference (SPIE Photonic West 2017) attracting more than 10 000 scientists," Bergholt concludes.

Challenges met and success delivered

To complete the initial optical design of the Raman prototype required optimisation. IMAGINE ensured the clinical viability by successfully adopting a new optical approach for imaging that offers more efficient laser illumination of tissue.

The MSCA achieved significant progress as the design of the Raman imaging platform gained new insight into photon propagation in tissue phantoms, mimicking optical properties of tissue and . The Fellowship has therefore paved the way for further exploration of Raman-based methods for cancer detection and diagnosis.

Raman spectroscopy represents a novel biomolecular approach for targeting of cancers in vivo. Summing up the future impact of the IMAGINE research, Dr. Bergholt states, "We are aiming ultimately to translate this technology to the patient bedside."

Explore further: New technique could improve the outcome of breast cancer surgery

Related Stories

New technique could improve the outcome of breast cancer surgery

September 30, 2014
A new technique will help surgeons to detect where the margins of cancerous breast tumours are during surgery, reducing the need for secondary operations in breast cancer patients.

Imaging technique shows Alzheimer's disease progress

November 23, 2017
Using 'Raman' optical technology, scientists of the University of Twente, can now produce images of brain tissue that is affected by Alzheimer's disease. The images also include the surrounding areas, already showing changes.

Combined optical and molecular imaging could guide breast-conserving surgery

June 1, 2017
Breast-conserving surgery (BCS) is the primary treatment for early-stage breast cancer, but more accurate techniques are needed to assess resection margins during surgery to avoid the need for follow-up surgeries. Now, in ...

Precise 3-D imaging of skin cancer tumours

November 15, 2017
Scientists and clinicians from Singapore and Germany have successfully used multispectral optoacoustic tomography (MSOT) to achieve accurate, real-time 3-D imaging of non-melanoma skin cancer tumours. This imaging technique ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find adult stem cell characteristics in aggressive cancers from different tissues

September 19, 2018
UCLA researchers have discovered genetic similarities between the adult stem cells responsible for maintaining and repairing epithelial tissues—which line all of the organs and cavities inside the body—and the cells that ...

Colon cancer is caused by bacteria and cell stress

September 19, 2018
Researchers at Technical University Munich have reported findings related to the development of colon cancer. "We originally wanted to study the role of bacteria in the intestines in the development of intestinal inflammation," ...

Eating foods with low nutritional quality ratings linked to cancer risk in large European cohort

September 18, 2018
The consumption of foods with higher scores on the British Food Standards Agency nutrient profiling system (FSAm-NPS), reflecting a lower nutritional quality, is associated with an increased risk of developing cancer, according ...

CRISPR screen reveals new targets in more than half of all squamous cell carcinomas

September 18, 2018
A little p63 goes a long way in embryonic development—and flaws in p63 can result in birth defects like cleft palette, fused fingers or even missing limbs. But once this early work is done, p63 goes silent, sitting quietly ...

Could the zika virus fight the brain cancer that killed john McCain?

September 18, 2018
(HealthDay)—Preliminary research in mice suggests that the Zika virus might be turned from foe into friend—enlisted to curb deadly glioblastoma brain tumors.

Enlarged genotype-phenotype correlation for a three-base pair deletion in neurofibromatosis type 1

September 18, 2018
International collaborative research led by Ludwine Messiaen, Ph.D., shows that while a three-base pair, in-frame deletion called p.Met992del in the NF1 gene has a mild phenotype for people with the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.