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Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston are conducting a feasibility study to determine the initial safety and efficacy of its Lumicell System for in vivo imaging of metastases in the hopes of removing all cancer during a first surgery.
The Lumicell System is designed to enable surgeons to see residual cancer cells in the cavity walls in real-time during surgery. It consists of a hand-held, lightweight, single-cell-resolution imaging device that is designed to fit into the lumpectomy cavity and scan for residual cancer at the margins.
The areas being studied include the peritoneum from primary ovarian cancer, appendiceal cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and mesothelioma. So far, there have been positive clinical results in breast cancer trials and there is promise for ovarian and other cancers.
The Lumicell System features an investigational onco-fluorescent agent and a hand-held imaging device that enable cancer surgeons to see and remove cancer cells in real-time during operations. Courtesy of Sylvain Sonnet. Dr. James Cusack is head of the Cusack Laboratory at MGH where the lab named for him focuses on advancing cancer treatment resistance and the development of new targeted therapies to improve cancer patient survival. This application was developed in his laboratory, and the promising results were published in 2017 in Annals of Surgical Oncology. He is the director of the Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program at the hospital as well as an associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School. Cusack began using the Lumicell System for the study with the first patient’s surgical procedure on April 3, 2019.
“This feasibility study is a critical first step in determining if the Lumicell System will be effective in improving quality of life for people with peritoneal metastases and ovarian cancer,” Cusack said. “We will be evaluating the Lumicell System, by comparing the imaging results detected at the molecular level with the traditional microscopic evaluation, to improve surgical outcomes for patients with peritoneal surface malignancies.”
More than 225 participants have been treated with the Lumicell System in clinical trials. The majority of these participants are women undergoing lumpectomy for breast cancer. Dr. Barbara Smith, director of the breast program at MGH and professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, is the lead investigator of the breast cancer trials.
Smith reported positive clinical results in 2018 using Lumicell technology during breast cancer surgery thereby demonstrating rapid and direct identification of residual tumor in lumpectomy cavities during breast cancer surgery.
“Our study found that the Lumicell Imaging System was effective for real time identification of residual cancer intraoperatively,” she said. “This is an important advance as many breast cancer patients currently need second surgeries for positive margins. We’re excited to determine whether this peritoneal feasibility study will bring the same advantages to treating patients with peritoneal metastases with an ultimate goal to improve survival rates.”
The Lumicell System enables surgeons to visualize and distinguish cancer cells from healthy cells, so tumor cells aren’t left behind during the first surgery.READ MORE