A surface sampling probe developed by researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory may replace professional pathologists in identifying cancerous tissue during surgeries.
Currently, the Samples collected are taken to the pathology lab to confirm that all the cancerous tissues have been removed, which takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
The new probe does the same, but right inside the operating room without requiring a pathologist to operate in about10 minutes.
Lead researcher Vilmos Kertesz , said, "Instead of having to cut and mount tissue and wait for a trained pathologist to review the sample under a microscope, a technician might soon perform an equally conclusive test in the operating environment."
The new droplet-based mass spectrometry technique is an alternative to traditional method called immunohistochemistry (IHC). IHC provides high degree of spatial recognition, it is time consuming and limited by the quality and specificity of the antibody used to detect the protein.
The new device is capable to spot even large biomolecules such as proteins, which the other mass spectrometry methods have not been able to achieve.
"On the basis of the results and the relative simplicity, rapidity and specificity of our method, there is great potential for our technology to assist surgeons in the detection of cancer from tissue biopsy samples," said Kertesz.