Today, if a woman is considered to be at high risk for ovarian cancer, surgeons tend to want to preemptively remove her ovaries.
That may sound harsh, but of all the gynecological cancers, ovarian has the lowest survival rate--mainly because, without reliable symptoms, it is difficult to detect early on.
Now, researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of Connecticut have combined three imaging tools to spot tissue irregularities that signal ovarian cancer at earlier stages of its development.
Describing their hybrid device in the September issue of the Optical Society's Biomedical Optics Express journal, the researchers say they have combined photoacoustic imaging for contrast, optical coherence tomography for hi-res subsurface imaging (called OCT, this is the top image at the right), and pulse-echo ultrasound for deep-tissue imaging (second image) to identify malignant tumors.
The superimposed images (at the bottom of the images) enabled the team to spot malignant tissue (indicated with yellow diamond arrows).
They performed their initial tests on surgically removed pig and human ovarian tissue--but with the device measuring just 5 millimeters across, it could potentially be inserted through a tiny slit to image tissue without having to biopsy it.
The researchers were able to confirm that they'd correctly identified malignant cells by staining the tissue and examining it by microscope. Next step: test the device on live patients using minimally invasive surgery.… Read more
To determine if there is cancer in one's lymph nodes, a typically advanced stage requiring more aggressive treatment, pathologists are stuck performing several specific, detailed tests that may or may not target the cancerous cells. Using the needle-in-a-haystack analogy would be apt.
But thanks to the work of researchers at the University of Missouri in Columbia, a technique using photoacoustics could scan a lymph node biopsy with laser pulses, whereby the pigment of melanin reacts to the laser's beam, absorbing the light, and heating and cooling (read: expanding and contracting) rapidly. This produces a popping sound that's … Read more