Laser endomicroscopy to enable early detection of lung cancer in real time

By Tejaswita Tiwari  | Date: 2022-05-24

Laser endomicroscopy to enable early detection of lung cancer in real time

A group of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center have designed a system to identify lung cancer at cellular level using real time data during biopsy, ensuring early detection of smaller cancer cells that otherwise may go undetected by the existing technology.

With easily visible presence of fluorescent cancer cells that are created by the new tech, five nonexpert raters reported 96% accuracy in diagnosing malignant or non-malignant tissue biopsies on 20 human biopsy specimens tested, without any false negatives.

Reportedly, the researchers have coined the new technology as NIR-nCLE, featuring an integration of cancer-specific near-infrared (NIR) tracer with upgraded system - a needle-based confocal laser endomicroscopy (nCLE) technology - to detect the respective NIR signal.

Gregory Kennedy, a resident in general surgery at Penn, emphasized on the potential of latest technology to light up one single cell that is too small to be visible for the eye, in offering patients the best chance at early diagnosis before the cancer is aggravated.

Through this, Kennedy believes that the scientific community will be able to unlock key information received from biopsies and could potentially increase the possibility of early cancer detection.

Aiming to identify such microscopic nodules, ground-breaking technologies like NIR-nCLE can effectively enhance precision in identification as well as removal of cancer cells at the end.

Essentially, the researchers studied human cancer cell samples from patients with a history of smoking, during which the cells were grown alongside normal cells to determine the least quantity of cells that the technology can detect.

Moreover, the demonstration used an investigation imaging agent – Cytalux (pafolacianine) injection – in combination with a probe and needle-based imaging platform called Cellvizio. It was discovered that pairing these technologies help detect lung cancer at the cellular level in real time.

Cytalux, was recently granted approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in adult patients diagnosed with ovarian cancer supplementary to the surgical treatments for detecting any cancerous lesions.

Ultimately, the researchers hope that the combination detection approach will allow early diagnosis of other cancer types as well.

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Tejaswita Tiwari

Tejaswita Tiwari

Being born in a family of readers, Tejaswita has always had a natural flair for writing, using that enthusiasm to become a full-fledged writer after earning her MBA in Marketing. Her insatiable curiosity to learn about various verticals has made her a popular research...

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