Wearable glasses help surgeons view cancer cells in real time

Cancer cells are notoriously difficult to see, even under high-powered magnification. The glasses are designed to make it easier for surgeons to distinguish cancer cells from healthy cells, helping to ensure that no stray tumor cells are left behind during surgery.
Current standard of care requires surgeons to remove the tumor and some neighboring tissue that may or may not include cancer cells. The samples are sent to a pathology lab and viewed under a microscope. If cancer cells are found in neighboring tissue, a second surgery often is recommended to remove additional tissue that also is checked for the presence of cancer.
The glasses could reduce the need for additional surgical procedures and subsequent stress on patients, as well as time and expense.
According to breast surgeon Julie Margenthaler, MD, an associate professor of surgery at Washington University, who performed the operation, about 20 to 25 percent of breast cancer patients who have lumps removed require a second surgery because current technology doesn’t adequately show the extent of the disease during the first operation.
“Our hope is that this new technology will reduce or ideally eliminate the need for a second surgery,” she said.