New partnerships to trial optical coherence tomography for cancer
7 March 2007
Two UK hospitals have teamed up with Michelson Diagnostics
Ltd (MDL) to test the use of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for the
rapid identification of cancers as an alternative to biopsies.
Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and University College London Hospital (UCLH)
are to trial MDL’s Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scanner for research
into rapid in-vivo identification of cancers affecting the cervix,
oesophagus, skin, lung and other organs.
The new OCT scanner shows tissue structure in real time below the surface of
a scanned organ. OCT makes this possible at far higher resolution than is
possible with ultrasound or MRI scans.
At Gloucestershire Royal Hospital Dr Nick Stone, Consultant Clinical
Scientist in Biophotonics Research, will use the scanner to look at cervical
and oesophageal tumour tissue.
“My team want to assess how useful OCT imaging could be in helping
clinicians to diagnose, monitor and target the treatment of cancer,” said Dr
Stone. “The next step will be to repeat the tests in-vivo. We believe the
NHS could reduce costs and waiting times with the clinical implementation of
OCT, both for biopsy targeting and real-time diagnostics”.
Mr Colin Hopper, Head of Maxillofacial Surgery at UCLH, is keen to obtain
in-vivo images of basal-cell skin carcinomas with the Michelson Diagnostics
“We are very excited about the breakthrough in image quality that this
system offers,” Dr Hopper said. “OCT could revolutionise the surveillance of
pre-cancers in the mouth by eliminating waiting for biopsy results and by
minimising surgery for cancer through improved disease mapping, all while
maximising cure rates.”
The research programmes are due to start in late March 2007. They will last
at least four months and will compare OCT scans taken with the Michelson
Diagnostics equipment with histology from the same tissue samples from a
sizeable range of patients.