A research team from the Washington University has developed new high-tech smart glasses that could aid surgeons in the removal of cancer cells.

Often a long and complex operation, removing cancer cells is not always 100 percent successful, as sometimes it is impossible to remove all the affected tissue in one go. The team led by Samuel Achilefu have designed eyewear that make cancer cells highly visible to the surgeon performing the operation.

cancer smartglasses

The device, which has not been given a name yet, contains custom software and a molecular imaging agent, so that the wearer sees the cancer cells glowing blue. This helps the surgeon to distinguish between healthy tissue and the afftected tissue, making it easier to remove the cancerous cells.

Next month Ryan Fields, MD, a Washington University assistant professor of surgery and Siteman surgeon, is planning to perform an operation wearing the smart glasses and says he welcomes any new technology which helps you to visualise cancer cells.

“A limitation of surgery is that it’s not always clear to the naked eye the distinction between normal tissue and cancerous tissue,” Fields said. “With the glasses developed by Dr. Achilefu, we can better identify the tissue that must be removed.”

It is hoped that these new smart glasses will remove the need for patients to have to go through repeat operations. At the moment the device is awaiting testing and further development but when it eventually does become available it will be an excellent aid for surgeons worldwide.

“We’re in the early stages of this technology, and more development and testing will be done, but we’re certainly encouraged by the potential benefits to patients,” said breast surgeon Julie Margenthaler, MD, an associate professor of surgery at Washington University. “Imagine what it would mean if these glasses eliminated the need for follow-up surgery and the associated pain, inconvenience and anxiety.”

[Image via Pregon]

SOURCE: http://www.engadget.com/2014/02/12/washington-university-cancer-glasses/