A group of researchers from Boston and Cleveland have just published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in which they presented a novel technique called diffuse reflectance spectroscopy. Their system works by sending light via a thin fibre optic probe into the tissue of interest, then capturing and analyzing the light spectrum after its interaction with the tissue. By studying the resulting spectral “signature”, the clinicians can tell, with 97% success and within a few seconds, whether they are about to biopsy an area that includes the microcalcifications. Potentially, their findings could lead to the creation of a relatively inexpensive tool that may have a significant impact on breast cancer diagnosis.Dr Susan Boolbol has stated, “Following her breast cancer surgery, telling a patient that she needs more surgery can be an emotional issue for both doctor and patient, resulting in tremendous anxiety and frustration”. Dune Medical Devices has just announced that its MarginProbe system has received premarket approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the USA.
FDA approval was based on a multi-centre clinical trial of 664 patients and demonstrated that MarginProbe was three times more effective in finding cancer “on the margin” during lumpectomy compared to intra-operative imaging and palpation. This tool uses electromagnetic “signatures” to distinguish between healthy and cancerous tissue and shows great potential to improve patient outcome.