An optical fibre probe that distinguishes breast cancer tissue from normal tissue could allow surgeons to be much more precise when removing breast cancer, according to researchers at the University of Adelaide.
The device could help prevent follow-up surgery, currently needed for 15-20% of breast cancer surgery patients where all the cancer is not removed. Published today in the journal Cancer Research, the researchers in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, and the Schools of Physical Sciences and Medicine, demonstrate how the optical probe could work by detecting the difference in pH between the two types of tissue.
Dr Richard Berks, Senior Research Communications Officer at Breast Cancer Now, said:
“This innovative probe is showing some promise, but further studies are now needed to determine whether this approach might work in patients.
“Most people who develop breast cancer will undergo surgery. If parts of a tumour are left behind during surgery, there is an increased risk of the disease returning and further operations to remove any remaining cancer can be both risky and stressful for patients.
“Tools to help surgeons ensure they have removed the whole tumour will be crucial to improving patients’ outcomes and experiences and we now look forward to trials of this probe in breast cancer patients.”