Updated on 22 March 2017
Currently, no diagnostic tools are available for detecting pancreatic cancer at an early stage which either leads to unnecessary surgery or untreated malignancy. As a result, pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate in comparison to all major cancers.
A team led by Lev T. Perelman, PhD, Director of the Center for Advanced Biomedical Imaging and Photonics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), has come up with a new, minimally invasive technique for identifying pre-cancerous and cancerous pancreatic lesions.
This new tool works on the principle of light scattering spectroscopy (LSS). It can be used for detecting the structural changes occurring within the pre-cancerous or cancerous cells by bouncing light off tissues and analyzing the reflected spectrum.
Perelman, who is also Professor of Medicine and Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School, adds that not all pancreatic lesions are cancerous. A specific diagnostic tool is required to accurately identify the pancreatic cysts that need surgical intervention and those that do not.
High definition scanning technologies such as MRI and CT imaging are being used for detecting pancreatic cysts but they provide very limited information about the cysts' malignancy.