Student Researcher: Lawrence Yip, PhD Student, Western University
Project Title: Development of an intraoperative photoacoustic imaging system for ex vivo breast tumour margin assessment
Many breast cancer patients undergo surgery for their disease that uses a breast-conserving approach. However, many of these patients (approximately 25%) will require follow-up surgery to remove all disease. This research project aims to develop a 3D photoacoustic tomography (PAT) system to help improve the outcome for these cancer patients. PAT is a hybrid imaging technique that combines the strengths of ultrasound and optical/light imaging while using safe, non-invasive laser light. With this method, 3D images with high contrast, high resolution and excellent penetration depth can be achieved while remaining low cost. PAT is capable of detecting many differences between cancerous and healthy tissue. The goal of this project is to develop a portable system that can image excised tumours during breast-conserving surgery, providing the operating surgeon with information on whether any cancerous tissue was missed while the operation is still in progress, and decreasing follow-up surgeries. This hybrid imaging approach provides advantages not currently offered by current guidance techniques and has immense potential to lower both patient burden and healthcare costs.