Scientists in the United States have developed a new technology through which cancer cells in the body emit a fluorescent glow, allowing cancer surgeons to operate more effectively.
Cancer surgeons who rely on traditional method of vision and touch often miss out on finding very small clusters of ovarian tumors that are less than one tenth of a millimetre across. The new technology is expected to help the surgeons detect small tumors and increase the success rates in such surgeries.
Researchers led by Professor Philip Low, from Purdue University in West Lafayette, developed the technology by combining fluorescent label with a modified form of folic acid that binds with the cancer cells. The surgeons were then able to view the cancer cells through a special camera system that displayed the cells as green patches.
"Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to see, and this technique allowed surgeons to spot a tumour 30 times smaller than the smallest they could detect using standard techniques. By dramatically improving the detection of the cancer - by literally lighting it up - cancer removal is dramatically improved", Professor Low said. The research has been published in the journal Nature Medicine.