Pets with Cancer Sought for Two Trials
A new surgical imaging tool developed on the University of Illinois campus is being used by a veterinary surgical oncologist there to determine whether all the cancerous cells of a tumor have been removed. Two clinical trials conducted by Dr. Laura Selmic will help introduce this new approach, called optical coherence tomography (OCT), for veterinary use.
OCT has been found to correlate well with traditional pathologists’ diagnoses in a clinical study of 35 women with breast cancers at the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Ill.
By enrolling their pets with cancer in these clinical trials, owners will be advancing this new approach to improve veterinary surgical treatment. Owners will be financially responsible for costs associated with evaluation and care. They will receive $200 credit to their Veterinary Teaching Hospital account to cover the costs of the histopathology evaluation.
Soft Tissue Sarcomas and Mammary Tumors in Dogs
Dogs will undergo surgery to remove their tumor. Following removal, the tumor and the surgical site will be scanned with optical coherence tomography to assess the surgical margins for residual cancer cells. The tumor will also have a histopathological assessment so the two approaches can be compared.
Soft Tissue and Injection Site Sarcomas in Dogs and Cats
Dogs and cats will undergo surgery to remove their tumor. Following removal, the tumor will be scanned with optical coherence tomography to assess the surgical margins for residual cancer cells. The tumor will then also be sent for histopathological assessment so that the two approaches can be compared.
Real-Time Imaging Vs. Later Lab Reports
One difficulty when removing cancerous tumors is ensuring that no cancerous cells remain behind in the tissue around the main body of the tumor, known as the margin. If not removed during surgery, these cancer cells may emerge later as tumors. For this reason, the tissue removed is sent to a pathologist who ensures that no cancerous cells are present at the margins, indicating that some may have been left behind in the body.
“The image obtained with OCT is comparable in quality to that obtained in the current standard procedure of sending tissue samples to a laboratory for analysis of the cellular architecture,” says Dr. Selmic. “But with OCT, you get the image while you are still operating on the patient, rather than several days later with the laboratory results.”
That way, the surgeon can intervene immediately to remove any cancerous cells detected.
“In a way that is similar to how ultrasound imaging uses sound waves, this optical microscopic imaging technique uses light waves to create a high-resolution image of the underlying tissue in real time,” explained Dr. Selmic.
OCT produces images on a micron scale resolution. A micron is one millionth of a meter; for reference, a human hair is between 40 and 50 microns wide.
Ultimately, new technological innovations like this in medicine and surgery are going to improve our health care and save lives.
Stephen Boppart, Biophotonics Imaging Laboratory