Shining a Light on Mesothelioma Tumors
For most people, a diagnosis of mesothelioma, an incurable and deadly cancer caused by exposure to asbestos, is a life-changing event, whether they are on the receiving end of the devastating news themselves or are a family member of someone who is. Patients diagnosed with this aggressive cancer frequently don’t live more than one to two years after diagnosis. One of the reasons for this is that, unlike many malignant growths, mesothelioma tumors are so many and so small that it is virtually impossible to get all the tiniest bits of diseased tissue when surgery is performed. But a new technique, which employs near-infrared light, may improve the ability of surgeons to zero in on every last speck of cancer during surgery.
In an article published on June 15, 2018 in the Annuls of Thoracic Surgery, scientists considered how difficult it is for surgeons to tell malignant lesions apart from pre-existing scar tissue or inflammation as they seek to extract every last fragment of cancerous tissue from a mesothelioma patient. Recently, twenty patients with pleural malignant mesothelioma enrolled in a clinical trial during which a green dye was injected into their veins. This dye, called indocyanine-green (ICG), was developed for photographic purposes during World War II but eventually became a standard alternative to the use of more toxic radioactive dyes in medical diagnostics. Scientists decided to see how well it worked in the fight against mesothelioma.
Cancer tumors, including mesothelioma, naturally absorb more ICG dye than surrounding tissue. Once the mesothelioma patients were injected with the dye, surgeons peered through high-definition stereoscopic cameras connected to ten-millimeter scopes equipped with a light source emitting near-infrared light. The infrared light waves “excited” the dye, causing it to give off a fluorescent glow. This made the tumors stand out in high relief, which enabled surgeons to cut away all visible signs of the malignancy without removing healthy tissue.
When the extracted cancer tissue was evaluated, scientists found that the excised mesothelioma cells contained the highest concentration of dye, making them shine far more brightly than surrounding benign tissue. This enabled the surgeons to remove the cancerous lesions more thoroughly than comparable procedures performed without infrared-lit dye. The study, conducted by the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, concluded that Penn-Med’s new TumorGlow® technology is a win-win for mesothelioma patients, giving hope to families everywhere whose loved ones are suffering from this devastating asbestos cancer.
What can you do?
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer caused by asbestos, you might be able to take legal action against the asbestos manufacturers responsible for your suffering. Please contact Baron & Budd online or call 855-280-7664 to learn more.