Optical Tool Detects Malignant Cancer Tissue During Surgery

A tool that will enable surgeons to detect malignant breast cancer tissue during surgery using new imaging techniques has been developed by researchers at the University of Western Australia. The tool allows surgeons to assess the thin rim of healthy tissue - known as the 'surgical margin' - to ensure that an entire tumor has been removed during surgery and does not recur. The technology has the potential to spare thousands of breast cancer patients the burden of a second surgery and become an important new addition to the clinical toolkit. The researchers have named their technique 'Optical coherence micro-elastography' (OCME). OCME forms high-resolution images of how tissue feels. This is achieved by applying a mechanical force to the tissue and measuring how much the tissue deforms using the imaging technique. The stiffness of the tissue at each point is then mapped into an image, called an elastogram.