New ‘Cancer Goggles’ help surgeons spot malignant tumors

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)- New hi-tech goggles that allow doctors to see cancer cells during surgery will be tested in clinical trials at hospitals across the country.

The innovative glasses, known as Cancer Goggles, were invented by Washington University professor of radiology, Dr. Samuel Achilefu. The new technology injects patients with a bio-luminescent marker that attaches to the cancer cells. A surgeon wearing the specialized goggles can see the malignant tumors glow once the near infrared light is beamed.

In its beginning phase, scientists' at Washington University and the Siteman Cancer Center tested the goggles on breast and skin cancer patients.

Experts says differentiating between healthy cells and cancer cells is a difficult task. Current standards require surgeons to remove tumors along with neighboring tissue that may or may not include cancer cells. Additional surgery is often recommended if cancer cells are found.

Achilefu hopes his goggles will reduce and or eliminate the need for follow-up surgery.

In a 2015 article posted by The Huffington Post, Achilefu says his primary goal is to make sure that the surgeon does not operate in the blind. His lighting technology could mean a brighter future for those battling the disease.

The goggles are awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Related story: Goggles helping fight against cancer 

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