Year/Course: 2020-2021
Project type: Medical

Inventor: Dr Gita Khalili Moghaddam, Clinical Neurosciences
Mentor: Bob Pettigrew

The TumourVue device is designed to improve outcomes for cancer patients undergoing surgery by allowing the surgeon to identify the edges of the tumour more precisely in theatre, thus preserving as much healthy tissue as possible.

A first working prototype has already been built to demonstrate that the technology works in practice, and funding has already been secured to build a second prototype device with higher image resolution.

Currently brain tumours are imaged using PET scans, but opening the skull for surgery can change the geometry of the brain and the position of the tumour. For surgery a fluorescent dye 5ALA is used which makes the tumour appear bright red under UV light – this allows real-time visualisation but means that the light needs to be switched between UV and normal light in surgery. In addition the dye is expensive and bleaches in ambient light, and cannot be used for low grade brain tumours or at the margins of small tumours. 5ALA was only approved for use last year so is still in the process of being adopted by surgeons.

TumourVue uses a passive handheld imaging device which does not need any fluorescent dye together with an AI algorithm which processes the image. The system then displays the position of the tumour on a screen in real-time. The expectation is that this will have greatest value in surgeries where it is important to preserve as much healthy tissue as possible, for example colorectal, renal and breast cancers in addition to brain tumours, but the device may be useful in other surgeries as well.

The question for the i-Team is to investigate the path to adoption for TumourVue by interviewing relevant experts, including looking at different cancer surgeries which could benefit from this approach.