Updated: Nov 17, 2020
A major challenge for oncologists is to determine exactly where a tumor starts and where it ends. Removing too much tissue can impair normal functions, but not taking enough can mean the disease could reoccur. The MasSpec Pen is handheld device, that could someday enable surgeons to distinguish between cancerous and healthy tissue in real time, with greater certainty in seconds.
COMMONLY USED METHOD FOR CANCER DETECTION
The most common method used for cancer detection is histopathology. With this technique, a tissue sample is extracted during surgery and taken to a laboratory. The sample is flash-frozen, sectioned, stained and examined with a microscope.In total, this procedure can take an average of 30 minutes. The freezing process can lead to artifacts.
Video link: https://www.statnews.com/2017/09/06/masspec-pen-cancer/
To overcome these challenges, Livia S.Eberlin and colleagues at the University of Texas at Austin developed the MasSpec Pen, a handheld and biocompatible device connected to a high-performance mass spectrometer. The device rapidly identifies the molecular profile of tissue exposed during a surgery by first depositing a small droplet of water on the tissue surface for about three seconds. Next, the droplet is transferred to the mass spectrometer, where molecules of the tissue are identified.
Finally, machine-learning algorithms comb through the molecular information and provide a predictive diagnosis that surgeons can act on.So far, the MasSpec Pen has been tested on more than 800 human tissues ex vivo, including normal and cancerous breast, brain, pancreatic, thyroid, lung and ovarian tissues. There has also been a study conducted on integrating the MasSpec pen with the Da Vinci Xi Surgical system. The results suggest that, it can be used as an in vivo tissue assessment tool to help guide surgical resections and streamline surgical workflows.
Sharanya D, Field Application Specialist
MedCuore Medical Solutions Private Limited