Novel Optical Probe for Ovarian Cancer

The rundown

This project will develop a new type of optical diagnostics based on existing and emerging techniques such as Raman spectroscopy and coherent Raman imaging. These techniques are sensitive to the biochemical features of cancer. Near-infrared light will be used to obtain biochemical information to distinguish between healthy and diseased cells and tissue.

This interdisciplinary project involves a collaboration with Dr. Barbara Vanderhyden, Corrine Boyer Chair in Ovarian Cancer at U. Ottawa. Our long-term goal is to develop a hand-held, portable optical instrument that will permit the detection of early changes in ovarian tissue as well as the identification of microscopic cancers during surgery.

Background

Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecological women’s cancer. It is often called the “silent cancer”, developing without specific symptoms until the cancer has metastasized well beyond the ovaries. Seven in ten women die within five years of diagnosis and the long-term disease-free survival rate for advanced ovarian cancer is only 10%. There are no existing methods to detect microscopic ovarian cancer as it grows and spreads, as well as to confirm complete removal of tumor tissue during the time of surgery. The latter is crucial to prevent ovarian cancer recurrence.

Rollout

We are aiming to raise $10,000 for this project. The funds will go towards supplies for the experiments, including optical components and consumables such as tissue cultures, histology services and mice models of ovarian cancer.

Impact

The outcomes of this project hold the potential to markedly enhance our ability to fight ovarian cancer and to reduce patient suffering as well as health care costs. Beyond the successful completion of this project, the same techniques can be applied to image other diseases.

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