Image: Dr Erik Schartner demonstrates how the optical fibre cancer probe distinguishes cancerous tissue from healthy tissue using light.
Original Published Date: 
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) and collaborating institutions, have developed an optical fibre probe that distinguishes breast cancer tissue from normal tissue—potentially allowing surgeons to be much more precise when removing breast cancer.

A great example of a basic science discovery translating to an applied outcome, the device could help prevent follow-up surgery, currently needed for 15–20 per cent of breast cancer surgery patients where all the cancer is not removed.

Current surgical techniques to remove cancer lack a reliable method to identify the tissue type during surgery, relying on the experience and judgement of the surgeon to decide on how much tissue to remove. Because of this, surgeons often perform ‘cavity shaving’, which can result in the removal of excessive healthy tissue. And at other times, some cancerous tissue will be left behind.

Project leader Dr Erik Schartner, a Research Fellow at the CNBP, said “We have designed and tested a fibre-tip pH probe that has very high sensitivity for differentiating between healthy and cancerous tissue with an extremely simple—so far experimental—setup that is fully portable.” 

Media issued by The University of Adelaide.


Photo credit: 

Image courtesy: ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP)