The surgeon’s limited ability to accurately delineate the tumor margin during surgical interventions is one key challenge in clinical management of cancer. New methods for guiding tumor resection decisions are needed. Numerous studies have shown that tissue autofluorescence properties have the potential to asses biochemical features associates with distinct pathologies in tissue and to distinguish various cancers from normal tissues. However, despite these promising reports, autofluorescence techniques were sparsely adopted in clinical settings. Moreover, when adopted they were primarily used for pre-operative diagnosis rather than guiding interventions. To address this need, we have researched and engineered instrumentation that utilizes label-free fluorescence lifetime contrast to characterize tissue biochemical features in vivo in patients and methodologies conducive to real-time (few seconds) diagnosis of tissue pathologies during surgical procedures. This presentation overviews clinically-compatible multispectral fluorescence lifetime imaging techniques developed in our laboratory and their ability to operate as stand-alone tools, integrated in a biopsy needle and in conjunction with the da Vinci surgical robot. We present pre-clinical and clinical studies in patients that demonstrate the potential of these techniques for intraoperative assessment of brain tumors and head and neck cancer. Current results demonstrate that intrinsic fluorescence signals can provide useful contrast for delineation distinct types of tissues including tumors intraoperatively. Challenges and solutions in the clinical implementation of these techniques are discussed.
Laura Marcu, "Fluorescence lifetime technique for surgical imaging, guidance and augmented reality (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10049, Molecular-Guided Surgery: Molecules, Devices, and Applications III, 1004909 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 28, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2257039.5370181501001.
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