University of Missouri joins Washington University in developing cancer goggles

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A breakthrough in cancer research is happening in Mid-Missouri, literally changing the way doctor's see cancer.

Washington University in St. Louis teamed up with the University of Missouri's Veterinarian School to test cancer goggles. They are first testing them in dogs before moving to humans.

"This would be a huge breakthrough in cancer research. This is a really active area of research right now," said Dr. Jeffrey Bryan, oncologist and professor at the MU Veterinarian School.

This research that allows surgeons to see cancer tissue in their patient while operating. This works because the patient is injected with a dye that stains the cancer cells. When doctors are in surgery and wearing the goggles, they will see it and know exactly what to remove.

"Cancer cells and normal cells to the eye look the same," said Dr. Bryan.

Currently, doctors are relying on MRIs and CT scans to pinpoint cancer.

"Now we'll be able to look directly at the tumor and see that margin without having to refer back to the imaging so to speak," said Dr. Tony Mann, board certified surgeon and professor at the University of Missouri Veterinarian School.

"The goal of the goggle device is to rule out that the surgeon did not leave any cancer behind," said Samuel Achilefu, professor of radiology at Washington University in St. Louis.

The University of Missouri's Veterinarian School got involved in this research because they are first testing these goggles on dog. Dog tumors look and behave very similarly to human tumors.

"If the success is very high we might move it directly into people immediately," said Dr. Bryan.

The tests in dogs will begin in the next couple of months. As for any negatives to these goggles Dr. Mann told ABC 17 News there are no side effects to the patients, they are still getting the same surgery.

The only  negative could be the comfort to the doctor wearing the goggles. However, right now they are refining these goggles to make them as comfortable as possible.

Research for the goggles came from a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.

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