Berlin: A new prototype device that determines whether a prostate tissue sample is benign or malignant in just one-and-a-half minutes has been developed.
The device facilitates the diagnosis for doctors: Through a visual analysis, they can reliably determine if they are dealing with carcinoma.
The diagnosis is easier, faster and more precise - with an optical diagnostic device that researchers have developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden, Germany.
"The physician places the removed tissue sample on a base plate, slides it into the machine, presses a button and within one and a half minutes, receives a reliable indication of whether the tissue in the sample is benign or malignant," said Dr Jorg Opitz, scientist at IKTS.
Since the sample does not require a long preparation time and can be pushed directly into the device and analysed after it has been taken, the patient does not have to wait for days after the biopsy in order to know the outcome.
The doctor receives the results immediately and can talk with the patient much sooner about the next steps to take.
A further advantage is the reliability of the examinations.
"The analyses are based on the auto-fluorescence that human tissue emits," said Opitz.
There are fluorophores in every human body. These molecules are illuminated for a very short time when certain light falls on them.
If the doctor sets the removed tissue in the device, starts the measurement, emits a dosage of laser pulse and excites the fluorophores, then the laser pulse stimulates the fluorescent molecules in the tissue to release light.
The way in which this fluorescence radiation decreases differs between benign and malignant tissue.
The scientists have been able to determine a clear threshold for this different behaviour: If the value of the tissue sample exceeds the threshold value, carcinoma is present.
Thus, the doctors obtain a clear and unambiguous prognosis. The analysis proceeds automatically. The device shows the physician if the collected sample contains cancer tissue like the colours of a traffic signal.