“Biopsy Without a Knife”

A New Cancer-Imaging Technique

Imaging techniques that rely on contrast dyes are often used to identify tumors or to determine if they’re malignant. Researchers from Tufts University and Lahey Hospital in Massachusetts have now developed a high-powered imaging technique that doesn’t use dyes, but light. The technique was reported in the journal Biomedical Optics Express.

The imaging system uses a multiphoton microscope with automated image processing algorithms to identify cellular and tissue features at the microscopic level, essentially acting like a “biopsy without a knife,” according to Dimitra Pouli, lead author.

Multiphoton microscopy delivers laser light to tissue in very short pulses, which keeps the average power down and doesn’t cause tissue damage. Different components of the tissue interact with the laser light, emitting signals that are picked up by the microscope to create an image with details not usually visible with standard imaging tools.

The system evaluates both cellular and extracellular tissue at the microscopic levels, which allows the identification of cancer metastasis at an earlier stage. The algorithms help to classify the tissues.

The researchers examined fresh biopsies from the peritoneal cavity, the first time healthy and metastatic peritoneal tissue had been successfully studied by combining this microscopy technique with image texture analysis. Eventually they hope to apply the imaging technique directly to areas of the body where cancer is suspected without the need for biopsies or dyes, said Thomas Schnelldorfer, co-leader of the research. “This could ultimately help surgeons identify suspicious or diseased areas directly in the operating room in real time.”

Source: BioSpace, August 7, 2019