Cancer surgery

Transforming the surgical management of cancer

  • Research

Developing technology with the potential to help surgeons more accurately remove tumours and detect cancer in lymph nodes during surgery is the focus of a study led by researchers at RCSI’s Department of Chemistry.

Almost 60% of all cancer patients will undergo surgery as part of their treatment and this technology could greatly improve their outcomes.

Bringing together expertise in chemistry and biotechnology, the research team has identified the benefit of fluorescence imaging as a way of detecting cancer cells during surgery, developing a probe that lights up when it detects cancer. This potential new technology could improve outcomes by giving the surgical team real-time, informative images during the procedure, which would have a wide-ranging and sustained impact on the care of cancer patients.

The team has recently secured funding for a project on colorectal cancer diagnosis and treatment under the Project Ireland 2040 Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund in collaboration with leading cancer surgeon Professor Ronan Cahill in the Mater University Hospital, UCD and Dublin-based industry partners IBM-research and Deciphex.

The project will look at combining tissue responsive probes, artificial intelligence and machine learning to transform medical care for colorectal cancer patients.

The research, led by RCSI Professor of Chemistry Donal O’Shea, is published in Chemical Science. The team is now working towards a clinical trial.

Prof. Donal O'Shea explains more about this ground-breaking research

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