This invention is a confocal imaging technology platform which enables rapid detection of tumor margins directly in fresh tissue during surgery and from biopsies.
This invention combines modifications to the optical and mechanical components of currently used confocal microscopes with specialized software and an optimized cassette to achieve what the inventors term “strip-mosaicing.” This system can rapidly image an entire strip of tissue, rather than imaging minute portions at a time; the associated software can then quickly and accurately stitch together images of contiguous strips, resulting in a large-field image with cellular-level resolution. This system enables confocal microscopy to be used during surgical procedures, avoiding the often labor-intensive process of preparing slides for pathology. The technique already has been validated by pathologists and surgeons at Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Confocal microscopy offers increased optical resolution and the ability to control depth of field. This type of microscopy has not gained wide acceptance among physicians and pathologists, however, because it only allows a very small area to be imaged at a time, which does not provide enough context for clinicians to be able to accurately diagnose pathologies in tissue
- Rapid-mosaicing, or the acquisition and stitching together of a large number of images, enables confocal microscopy to be used for imaging over significantly larger areas than has been feasible in the past
- By enabling rapid pathology at the bedside, this method avoids the need to excise tissue and prepare thin sections for pathology, a time-consuming process that often results in insufficient sampling of tissue and inaccurate and/or incomplete removal of cancer
The worldwide microscopy market is estimated at approximately $3B, however, confocal microscopy is currently only a small part of this. This technology offers the potential to increase acceptance and usage of confocal microscopy among clinicians and pathologists, thereby significantly increasing market size.
Microscopy, particularly of tumor tissues
Issued patents in the U.S. and Australia; pending patent application in Canada
Milind Rajadhyaksha, PhD, Laboratory Head, Optical Imaging Laboratory, Dermatology Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center