A stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscope currently being tested at the University of Michigan allows surgeons to quickly spot the difference between tumor tissue and normal brain tissue. Since June, the SRS microscope has imaged more than 60 patient samples from the operating room.
The technique generates microscopic images without the need for fixation, processing, and dying of the tissues.
A second-generation system will allow users to interact with the microscope in a way that does not disrupt the surgical workflow. The system would sit close to the operative field; surgeons could then load samples into the microscope and quickly have a microscopic view of the tissue.
The team developing the SRS microscope hopes to create a product about the size of a microwave and more affordable than the imaging systems currently used, such as intraoperative MRI.
“The ability to determine tumor margins without having to send samples to a pathologist could increase patient safety and improve outcomes by shortening the length of surgeries and reducing the number of cases where cancer cells are left behind,” said Richard Conroy, Ph.D., director of the Division of Applied Science & Technology at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at the National Institutes of Health, which provided funding for the development of the technology.