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New glasses allow surgeons to see cancer cells


Robert Boston | Siteman Cancer Center | Washington University School of Medicine

Robert Boston | Siteman Cancer Center | Washington University School of Medicine

Calling all med-surg nurses…there’s a new tech gadget being developed that may change cancer surgeries as we know them!

We’ve already reported on glasses being developed to help nurses and doctors see patients’ veins more easily, and now new high-tech glasses are letting surgeons visualize cancer cells during surgery. How? A fluorescent marker that affixes only to cancerous cells is injected into the patient, causing any cancerous cells to glow blue when viewed through the glasses.

“Our hope is that this new technology will reduce or ideally eliminate the need for a second surgery,” said Julie Margenthaler, an associate professor of surgery at the Washington University, according to Scientific Daily. Presently, 20-25 percent of all breast cancer patients require a second surgery, Margenthaler said.

In a study published in the Journal of Biometric Optics, researchers wrote that the glasses can see tumors as small as 1 mm in patients.

The wearable glasses were used for the first time during on February 10 at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

What do you think about these glasses? Would they be useful in your hospital?


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