Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have developed a hexachromatic camera that can help with tumor imaging during surgical removal. The device is inspired by the shrimp mantis which can perceive twelve colors, compared to only three colors which can perceive the human eye. The new camera can visualize tumors in the body during surgery when patients are given near-infrared probes to label cancer cells. By seeing the entire tumor and removing it accurately around the margins, it should be possible to minimize surgical reviews and reduce the chances of cancer recurrence.
Cancerous tissue can look like the healthy tissue that surrounds it, making it difficult to know what material should be removed. Removing too much healthy tissue can cause consequences for patients, especially when brain tumors are removed, but leaving cancerous tissue behind leads to tumor recurrence, causing a bit of enigma for surgeons.
“Engineers spend an incredible amount of time and money developing image sensors on mobile phones,” said Viktor Gruev, a researcher involved in the study. “When we go out in the city, these devices can capture perfect images for social media, but when doctors are examining patients, they don’t care about the beautiful appearance of the dam, but they care that the image captures reality. The driving force behind the camera market is simply incompatible with the technology needed for medical diagnosis. “
The compound eye of the mantis shrimp was the inspiration for this latest technology. “The mantis shrimp has these amazing eyes,” said Steven Blair, another researcher involved in the study. “Humans perceive three colors (red, green, and blue) due to a single layer of light-sensitive cone cells lining our retina, but the mantis shrimp perceives 12 colors upward thanks to the batteries of light-sensitive cells at the tip of your eye, so the mantis shrimp can see things that humans cannot imagine, and it does so in a fraction of space. ”
The hexachromatic camera uses filters and optical semiconductors to capture three colors of near-infrared light that would otherwise be invisible to the doctor. When combined with near-infrared probes that can be administered to patients and that accumulate preferentially in cancer cells, the camera can help a surgeon identify which areas of tissue are cancerous.
“The combination of this bioinspired camera and emerging tumor-targeted drugs will ensure that surgeons do not leave cancer cells in the patient’s body,” said Goran Kondov, a surgeon who has tested the technology. “This additional set of eyes will help prevent the recurrence of the disease, providing patients with a faster and easier path to recovery. And the device can be potentially manufactured at low cost, as it is very simple and makes it accessible. for hospitals around the world “.
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Study a Scientific translational medicine: Hexachromatic bioinspired camera for image-guided cancer surgery