Cancer Surgery Enhanced by New Dye Technology

Cancer Surgery Enhanced by New Dye Technology
Cancer Surgery Enhanced by New Dye Technology. Credit | Adobe Stock

United States – Retired British man David Butler did not initially know that he had prostate cancer, and the cancer was localized in the lymph nodes and in other structures close to the prostate.

“I had literally no symptoms apart from needing to pee more quickly whenever I did go to the toilet,” Butler, 77, said in a news release. “Had I not told my (doctor) about it, I might not have caught my cancer until it was much further down the line, as reported by HealthDay.

But Butler is cancer-free now after an electrifying dye has attracted prostate cancer cells.

Innovative Fluorescent Dye Technology

The fluorescent dye essentially provides doctors with a second pair of eyes during prostate cancer surgery, thereby facilitating surgeons to remove all the tumors in men’s real-time, the researchers stated while presenting the finding on June 10 in the European Journal of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging.

In a study of 23 men who have undergone prostate surgery, including Butler, the dye highlighted parts of the patient’s tissue that were cancerous and not visible to the naked eye or clinical procedures.

Hence, doctors can surgically resectively excise all the cancer, which decreases the likelihood of its recurrence, evidence indicates.

The surgeons also refrained from removing normal tissue; this served to minimize the impact of adverse effects that are associated with surgeries.

Enhanced Surgical Outcomes

“It’s the first time we’ve managed to see such fine details of prostate cancer in real-time during surgery,” lead researcher Dr. Freddie Hamdy, a professor of surgery at the University of Oxford, said in a news release.

“With this technique, we can strip all the cancer away, including the cells that have spread from the tumor, which could give it the chance to come back later,” he said. “It also allows us to preserve as much of the healthy structures around the prostate as we can, to reduce unnecessary life-changing side-effects like incontinence and erectile dysfunction.”

The dye binds with a protein known as Prostate-Specific Membrane Antigen present in the outer layer of the prostate cancer cells.

Cancer cells emit a light when illuminated by a certain type of light so that the surgeons can see the margins where the tumour begins and end as well as find groups of cells that have migrated to other regions, the researchers further explained.

Patient Success Story

Southmoor, Oxfordshire, England’s resident, Butler, was treated with this new technology in January 2019 using a prostate surgery.

He is now cancer-free after five years of recovery and has been living a normal life.

“I retired early to make the most of life’s pleasures – gardening, playing bowls, and walking,” Butler said. “Taking part in (this) study has allowed me to have many more of those pleasures for years to come.”

Scientists added that with this marker dye, they could possibly have markers for other types of cancer by altering the protein the marker dye grips onto in cancer cells.

More clinical trials are being conducted with larger groups of patients to find out if surgery using this dye Is indeed superior to standards of prostate procedures, according to the researchers.

Promising Future for Cancer Surgery

“Surgery can effectively cure cancers when they are removed at an early stage. But, in those early stages, it’s near impossible to tell by eye which cancers have spread locally and which have not,” Dr. Iain Foulkes, executive director of research and innovation at Cancer Research UK, said in a news release. Cancer Research UK funded the study, as reported by HealthDay.

“We need better tools to spot cancers which have started to spread further,” he continued. “We hope that this new technique continues to show promise in future trials. It is exciting that we could soon have access to surgical tools which could reliably eradicate prostate and other cancers and give people longer, healthier lives free from the disease.”