Color coded surgery

Brilliant! In this TED-video from october 2011, Quyen Nguyen describes how they developed fluorescent dyes that only attaches itself to tumours (through some clever molecular engineering) to, literally, highlight where that tumour is! The surgeon can then be pretty definite that they have excised all the tumour growths. It can be used to highlight metastatic lymph-nodes so that the unaffected nodes can be spared. She briefly mentions that they used the same molecular “smart tagging” to attach Gadolinium to the tumour to make non-invasive diagnosis via MRI possible. They were also able to tag nerves with different colours so that the surgeon can avoid nerves passing through the tumour.

So far, this technology only exists in the lab but its great potential will probably move it into the operating rooms very soon.


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