A new technology being used by mesothelioma surgeons may remind you of scenes from your favorite crime show, but that doesn’t make it any less of a breakthrough. Surgeons from the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvaniahttps://mesothelioma.net/mesothelioma-treatment-centers/ have reported in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery that they used a combination of a tumor-seeking dye and a near-infrared light to make mesothelioma tumors light up so that they can be removed more easily.
The state-of-the-art protocol is not new, but it is new to mesothelioma surgery: it has previously been used to detect other types of cancers, and works in much the same way you may have watched the actors on CSI or Law and Order use a black light to spot semen stains or blood. In crime scene investigations, detectives use the fact that certain body fluids will luminesce under black light and that blood will luminesce once it has been treated with certain chemicals: in the case of cancer, researchers have found that an intra-operative imaging tools called TumorGlow® accumulates in tumors and makes them glow, making it much easier for surgeons to locate them during surgery and remove them.
The research was specifically conducted on patients diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, and who were scheduled for either a pleurectomy with decortication surgery or a pleural biopsy. Both procedures aim to remove cancerous material, which is characteristically difficult to identify and distinguish from healthy tissue. The surgeons injected 20 patients scheduled for these procedures with the dye, then used a special light to illuminate the surgical site and guide them to cancerous cells.
Upon analysis of the tissue that they’d removed during surgery, the mesothelioma researchers found that the dye/light combination made a significant difference in their ability to detect even small tumors and to remove a greater percentage of cancerous tissue. They confirmed that the specimens that had shone the brightest under the light and which contained the highest concentration of dye were all mesothelioma cells, while samples that had been removed that did not contain high levels of dye were benign.
Commenting on the research in a press release, the study’s lead author Jarrod D. Predina, MD, MS, a post-doctoral research fellow in the Thoracic Surgery Research Laboratory and the ACC’s Center for Precision Surgery in a Penn Medicine said, “Surgically removing tumors still leads to the best outcomes in cancer patients, and this study shows intraoperative molecular imaging can improve the surgeries themselves. The more we can improve surgeries, the better the outcomes for these patients will be.”
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, this type of cutting-edge medical technology can make an enormous difference in your long-term survival. For information on other resources available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.