Prostate cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in western countries. Due to the difficulty for early detection, there are an estimated 10000 deaths a year in the UK from prostate cancer alone; whereby the only curative option is interventional treatment that aims to excise all diseased cells while preserving the neurovascular bundle. To date, several studies have shown that the mechanical properties of cancer cells and tissues i.e. adhesion, stiffness, roughness and viscoelasticity are significantly different from benign cells and regions of tissue that are healthy. Building upon these results, we believe novel methods of imaging the mechanical properties of prostate cancer samples can provide new surgical intervention opportunities beyond what is possible through vision alone. In this paper, we used an Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) to measure the stiffness and topography variations correlating to regions of prostate cancer at the surface of an excised sample at a cellular level. Preliminary results show that by using an AFM we can detect structural differences in non-homogeneous tissue samples, confirming previous results that cancerous tissues appear stiffer than benign areas. Through these results, we aim to develop a stiffness imaging protocol to aid the early detection of prostate cancer, in addition to force sensing surgical tools.
Clara Essmann, Alex Freeman, Vijay M. Pawar, and Danail Stoyanov, "Atomic force stiffness imaging: capturing differences in mechanical properties to identify and localize areas of prostate cancer tissue," Proc. SPIE 10576, Medical Imaging 2018: Image-Guided Procedures, Robotic Interventions, and Modeling, 105761M (Presented at SPIE Medical Imaging: February 15, 2018; Published: 13 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2293686.
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