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Researchers Develop Better Imager For Identifying Tumors

Update Date: Jun 22, 2014 02:38 PM EDT

Researchers have devised a new technique that could give surgeons cheaper and more lightweight tools to identify tumors in real time in the operating rooms, according to a new study. These lightweight tools could be googles or other hand held devices. 

The new technology is basically a dual-mode imager that combines two systems - near-infrared fluorescent imaging to detect marked cancer cells and visible light reflectance imaging to see the contours of the tissue itself-into one small, lightweight package approximately the size of a quarter in diameter, just 25 millimeters across, according to the press release. 

"Dual modality is the path forward because it has significant advantages over single modality," said author Rongguang Liang, associate professor of optical sciences at the University of Arizona, in the press release. 

"By combining different modalities together, you get a much better picture of the tissue, which could help surgeons make sure they remove every last bit of the tumor and as small amount of healthy tissue as possible," said Optics Letters topical editor Brian Applegate of Texas A&M University, who was not involved in the research.

Presently doctors inject fluorescent dyes into a patient to help them pinpoint cancer cells. 

"The other solution is to put two different imaging systems together side by side," Liang added. "But that makes the device bulky, heavy and not easy to use."

The study has been published in the journal Optics Letters. 

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