Diagnosing prostate cancer quickly, safely

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Distinguishing between benign and malignant prostate tissue is difficult. A new device facilitates the diagnosis for doctors: Through a visual analysis, they can reliably determine if they are dealing with carcinoma within a minute-and-a-half. Fraunhofer researchers will be presenting the prototype at the COMPAMED. 

Is it carcinoma of the prostate — or a benign tissue change? To find this out, doctors take a biopsy of prostate tissue from the patient. In doing so, they insert a small needle into the prostate, using ultrasound images to assist with navigation. From the sample taken in this way, laboratory employees fabricate wafer-thin tissue sections — a laborious job that takes at least a day. Then, the tissue sections are forwarded to a pathologist, who examines them under the microscope. Even for experienced physicians, though, it is often difficult to distinguish between benign and malignant tissue.

Analysis at your fingertips

In the future, this research will be easier, faster and more precise − with an optical diagnostic device that researchers have developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden. A prototype is currently available.

Light stimulates the body’s own fluorescence

A further advantage is the reliability of the examinations. “The analyses are based on the auto-fluorescence that human tissue emits,” says Opitz.

Each tissue has its own threshold

Currently, the device can only be used for prostate cancer, since the threshold value of the unit only applies to this tissue.Each tissue type has a fixed value, but they are different. Prostate tissue has a different value than does tissue from the chest or oral cavity.

Source : Science Daily News

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