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A major challenge for cancer surgeons is to determine exactly where a tumor starts and where it ends. Removing too much tissue can impair normal functions, but not taking enough can mean the disease could recur. The "MasSpec Pen," a handheld device in development, could someday enable surgeons to distinguish between cancerous and healthy tissue with greater certainty in seconds, while in the operating room. Today, researchers report first results of its use in human surgeries.
The researchers will present their findings at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2019 National Meeting & Exposition.
Data - Surgeries - Cancer - Tissue - Investigator
"It's been shown with extensive clinical data that highly effective surgeries are those that remove the most cancer, but also preserve the most normal tissue," says principal investigator Livia Eberlin, Ph.D. "We created the MasSpec Pen because we thought it would be incredible if there was a technology that could actually provide molecular information right in the operating room in living tissues within a time frame that could expedite surgical decisions."
Surprisingly, the most common method that medical professionals currently use to determine tumor margins or verify a diagnosis is 100 years old: histopathology. With this technique, a tissue sample is extracted during surgery and taken to a laboratory. The sample is flash-frozen, sectioned, stained and examined with a microscope. In total, this procedure can take an average of 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the patient, who is still under anesthesia, and the surgeon are left waiting. In addition, while histopathology is effective for many surgeries, especially for cancers, the process can be subjective because artifacts from the freezing process can complicate interpretation, Eberlin explains.
Challenges - Eberlin - Colleagues - University - Texas
To overcome these challenges, Eberlin and colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin developed the MasSpec Pen, a handheld and biocompatible device connected to a high-performance mass spectrometer. The device rapidly identifies the molecular profile of...
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