Newly developed needle microscope may improve the outcomes of cancer surgery

The smallest hand-held microscope has been recently developed by Australian scientists, it may help with a better detection of cancer cells often missed in a cancer surgery.

Needle MicroscopeA tiny lens less than a third of a millimeter wide has been used by scientists at the University of Western Australia to capture 3D image, the size of the lens makes it fit in a needle perfectly.

The device has already been tested on human tissue samples. Robert McLaughlin, the associate professor at the University of Western Australia says it would prevent the trauma caused by repeat surgery in breast cancer patients. He said that one in four women who have lumpectomy have to receive surgery again because there are small amount of cancer cells left in the body.

“The goal of our research is to make something to help the surgeons so that during surgery they can make sure they are getting all the cancer out.”

Professor Christobel Saunders, a surgeon and breast cancer specialist at the Royal Perth Hospital, says the new device is useful for looking at the edge of the area being operated on, to ensure no cancer cells are left behind.

She said that the needle microscope would allow the surgeons see at the microscopic level where there is tumor. It would allow doctors to be able to detect the cancer cells at the time of surgery, and it would lean to a more effective result.

Trials of using the needle microscope in the operating theaters are expected within two years.