Mini-Microscope For Point-of-Care PathologyEngineering360 News Desk | January 29, 2016
The ability to distinguish between healthy and malignant tissue in real-time in the operating room would certainly improve patient outcomes through earlier cancer detection and elimination of unnecessary excisions. A hand-held microscope under development could allow surgeons to “see” at a cellular level during procedures and determine where to stop cutting.
The pen-sized device uses “dual-axis confocal microscopy” to illuminate and more clearly see through opaque tissue. It can capture details up to a half millimeter beneath the tissue surface, where some types of cancerous cells originate. Video demonstrates how researchers produced images of fluorescent blood vessels in a mouse ear at various depths ranging from 0.075 to 0.125 mm deep.
Line scanning technology speeds up the image-collection process, using MEMS mirrors to direct an optical beam which scans the tissue, line by line, to quickly build an image.
Researchers from the University of Washington, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Stanford University and the Barrow Neurological Institute hope that after testing the microscope’s performance as a cancer- screening tool, it can be introduced into surgeries or other clinical procedures within the next two to four years.