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OU Health Sciences Trials Groundbreaking Imaging Method for Pancreatic Cancer Detection

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Researchers at the Stephenson Cancer Center within OU Health, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences, are spearheading a pioneering research initiative aimed at transforming the detection of pancreatic cancer. Their innovative study integrates a novel contrast agent designed to identify pancreatic cancer cells with Multispectral Optoacoustic Tomography (MSOT). This unique combination enables the detection of pancreatic cancer cells at an unprecedented level of precision, comparable to the width of an eyelash — a significant improvement over current methods.

Securing a $3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health, this project represents a groundbreaking effort with global implications. The imaging technique seeks to enhance the detection of pancreatic cancer cells at a microscopic scale, approximately 200 microns in thickness. This surpasses the limitations of existing modalities like CT scans, which can only identify larger tumors.

The MSOT device, in collaboration with the contrast agent, emits infrared light into the body, activating the dye within the contrast agent to generate sound waves. These waves are then translated into colors by the MSOT device, yielding highly detailed images capable of capturing elusive cancer cells.

This breakthrough promises to have a profound impact on pancreatic cancer surgery, particularly for older patients who often face higher surgical risks. Additionally, the imaging technique assists surgeons in devising personalized surgical strategies based on the precise location and extent of cancerous invasion, potentially altering the treatment trajectory.

The University of Oklahoma and Georgia State University collaborate on pending patent applications for contrast agents and the application of MSOT devices in conjunction with contrast agents. This collaborative effort underscores a commitment to advancing medical innovation in cancer detection and treatment


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