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Multi-modal biomicroscopic system enhances the accuracy of colorectal cancer treatment

Wed, 01/10/2018 - 09:26
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The multimodal biomicroscopic system is capable of performing pathologic analysis simultaneously to detect the surface of resected tissues and tumours deep within the tissues during the cancer operation

A research team of Information and Communication Engineering at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) has developed the world's first multimodal biomicroscopic system to analyse the characteristics of tumours and to utilise them in tumour treatment technology research. The imaging system accurately analyses the characteristics of tumours using the mechanical, chemical, and structural properties of colorectal cancer. It is the result of a collaboration with the research team of Eunjoo Kim from the Department of Nano & Energy Research. The research, ‘A Multimodal Biomicroscopic System based on High-frequency Acoustic Radiation Force Impulse and Multispectral Imaging Techniques for Tumor Characterization Ex vivo,’ was published in the journal, Scientific Reports.

Histopathologic examination of tumours removed during surgery is necessary to accurately analyse the removed tumour to find out whether cancer remains in the surgical site. For analysis, it is necessary to send a resected tumour to a pathologist to examine the specimen with a microscope to determine whether the resected cancer tissue is appropriately acquired and whether additional resection of the tissue during surgery is necessary.

However, this process is time consuming, and the results may vary depending on internal and external factors. To overcome these disadvantages, optical microscopy or ultrasonic wave technology are used. However, it is difficult to perform close inspection, as these methods have low resolution and cannot analyse the tissue internally.

The research team, led by Professor Jae Youn Hwang, developed a converged biomicroscope based on high-frequency ultrasound and optical spectroscopy to overcome the disadvantages of the imaging systems previously developed for tumour analysis. The multimodal biomicroscopic system is capable of performing pathologic analysis simultaneously to detect the surface of resected tissues and tumours deep within the tissues during the cancer operation. It converges optical multispectral imaging, high-frequency ultrasound B-mode, and high-frequency ultrasound radiation imaging techniques.

Tissue and tumour areas can be analysed more precisely than via a general fluorescence microscope as the optical spectroscopic imaging technique quantitatively analyses the spectroscopic indicators emitted from the tissue surface. It is possible to detect deep tissue as well as tumour areas accurately with high frequency ultrasonic b-mode and high frequency ultrasonic radiation force imaging technique, as they image the impedance and elasticity inside the tissue at higher resolution than the existing ultrasonic imaging techniques.

Conceptual diagram showing characteristics of Multimodal Biomicroscopic System (Credit: Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST))
Conceptual diagram showing characteristics of Multimodal Biomicroscopic System (Credit: Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST))

Through the experiment, the research team has proved that multimodal biomicroscopic system enables mechanical, chemical, and structural analysis of the tumour tissue from colon cancer patients at the high resolution from the surface to the deep of the tumour.

"We have developed a multimodal biomicroscopic system based on high-frequency ultrasound and optical spectroscopy for the first time,” said Hwang. “It complements the disadvantages of the existing image analysis systems. We will conduct further studies to develop this system to the endoscope system which can be used for clinical diagnosis of cancer before the actual surgery."

Overall, the results of this study show that the multimodal biomicroscopic system has the potential to qualitatively investigate the characteristics of incised tumors in vitro. The multimodal biomicroscopic system is expected to improve the efficiency and success rate of cancer surgery by increasing the accuracy of tumour removal surgery as well as shortening the operation time.

“These results thereby demonstrate that the multimodal biomicroscopic system proposed here has the potential to rapidly characterise excised human tissues qualitatively by means of a combination of high-frequency ultrasound and optical imaging modalities compared to the conventional histopathological examination,” the researchers conclude in their paper. “Thus, this system may become a very advantageous biomedical tool for use during surgical operations.”

To access this paper, please click here

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