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Mantis Shrimp Inspired Camera to Detect Tumors During Surgery

Mantis Shrimp Inspired Camera to Detect Tumors During Surgery

Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign have developed a hexachromatic camera that can aid tumor imaging during surgical removal. The device was inspired by the mantis shrimp, which can detect twelve colors compared to three colors that can be detected by the human eye. The new camera can visualize tumors in the body during surgery when patients are applied near-infrared probes to label cancer cells. By seeing the entire tumor and accurately removing it around the edges, it should be possible to minimize surgical revisions and reduce the likelihood of cancer recurrence.

Cancerous tissue can look very similar to the surrounding healthy tissue, making it difficult to know what material to remove. Removing too much healthy tissue can have consequences for patients, especially when removing brain tumors, but leaving cancerous tissue behind leads to tumor recurrence, posing an enigma to surgeons.

Graphics by Steven Drake, Beckman Institute.

"Engineers spend an incredible amount of time and money developing image sensors in cell phones," said Viktor Gruev, a researcher involved in the study. "When we're in the city, these devices can take great pictures for social media, but doctors don't care how good the shot looks when examining patients - they care how well the picture captures reality. The driving force in the camera market is completely incompatible with the technology needed for medical diagnostics."

The compound eye of the mantis shrimp was the inspiration for this cutting-edge technology. "Mantis shrimp have these incredible eyes," said Steven Blair, another researcher involved in the study. "Humans perceive three colors - red, green and blue - because of a single layer of photosensitive cone cells surrounding our retina, but the mantis shrimp detects up to 12 colors thanks to the stacks of photosensitive cells at the tip. it does in a part of space."

The hexachromatic camera uses optical filters and semiconductors to capture near-tricolor infrared light that would not normally be visible to a clinician. When combined with near-infrared probes that can be applied to patients and preferably deposited in cancer cells, the camera can help the surgeon identify which areas of tissue are cancerous.

"The combination of this bio-inspired camera and the resulting tumor-targeting drugs will ensure surgeons don't leave cancer cells in a patient's body," said surgeon Goran Kondov, who tested the technology. “This additional set of eyes will help prevent disease recurrence and provide patients with a faster and easier pathway to recovery. Because the device is so simple, it can potentially be manufactured at low cost, making it accessible to hospitals around the world.


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