Fibre-Optic Needle Detects Cancerous Tissue Without Markers

A French start-up has developed a technique to measure the natural fluorescence of tumour tissue. This is a new method to detect breast cancer.

Originally Posted in Lasers by Thomas Klein on January 14, 2015

Fibre-Optic Needle Detects Cancerous Tissue Without Markers
Source: Nodea Medical

Bernard Banga, MD Report, France

Mammography is used to detect breast nodules. Then, ultrasound scans establish whether these tumours are malignant or benign. If in doubt, nodules should be monitored for two years if necessary. Physician often carry out painful, intrusive biopsies. “We’re offering a new technology that helps diagnostic of suspect nodules. Our medical device provides instant results by measuring the natural fluorescence of tumour tissue. This will help reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies and further monitoring on benign lesions,” explains Florian Chatellier, an engineering graduate of ParisTech Optics Institute and Nodea Medical’s CEO and co-founder.

The start-up Nodea Medical, located in Villejuif Biopark Cancer Campus, is the result of medical instrumentation research carried out by René Farcy Nodea Medical’s other co-founder and researcher professor at Paris-Sud University in collaboration with Gustave Roussy, one of the first center for fighting against cancer. The Probea medical device consists of a fine shapered needle containing an optical fiber, which is polished to a 15° angle to improve the needle tissue penetration. A laser diode transmits a blue light (at 405 nm) through the fibered needle and excites cells in penetrated tissues. The emission of fluorescence by excited cells is caught by the same optical fiber and immediately processed by the system. This fluorescence is due to endogenous fluorophores whose expression is modified in cancerous tissues. Tumour exploration is carried out under ultrasound-guidance.

“Since our device does not need markers such as fluorophores to be injected, it presents no toxicological risk to patients,” continues Chatellier. The probe provides immediate, precise additional information on whether or not suspicious nodules are malignant or benign. Following excellent preclinical results on surgical specimens, this technology will be validated by a clinical trial on 350 patients spread across expert French hospitals. Every year in France alone, 49,000 new cases are detected and more than 11,000 people die of breast cancer.


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