New device could help make cancer surgery more accurate

A new probe which can distinguish between healthy and cancerous tissue samples has been developed by scientists in Australia. It is hoped that the more precise technology could help remove tumours whilst sparing the healthy tissue according to a study published in the journal of Cancer Research.  The new probe works by measuring levels of acidity, or pH, in the area that it is placed in. Tumour tissue is generally more acidic than healthy tissue.

Surgery currently relies very heavily on the experience and judgement of surgeons who often remove healthy tissue surrounding the site as a precautionary measure.

As the technology is cheap, said lead study author Dr Erik Schartner from the University of Adelaide, there could be “scope for broader use of this technology in operating theatres”.

Dr Sarah Bohndiek, a Cancer Research-UK funded scientist from the University of Cambridge, said: “If the findings are confirmed in a larger study, their technique could be used routinely at relatively low cost in operating theatres, paving the way for more accurate surgeries.”

To read more about this new technology please visit the Cancer Research UK website.