A new cancer imaging technology called the Lumicell Imaging System may help prevent peritoneal mesothelioma from returning by assisting surgeons in seeing and removing more of the tumors during surgery.
Being able to see exactly where mesothelioma tumors are located allows surgeons to remove more of the cancer and prevent it from coming back after surgery.
Standard Peritoneal Mesothelioma Surgery
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a type of cancer that affects the peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdomen. It is usually treated with cytoreduction with HIPEC, a surgery that removes all of the visible tumors from the peritoneum, and sometimes the abdominal lining itself.
Then, before the incision is sealed, the operation is followed by hyperthermic intraoperative chemotherapy (HIPEC).HIPEC is inserted into the abdominal cavity to wash all of the abdominal organs in the treatment.
Because the drug cocktail is administered directly to the area impacted by the cancer, doctors are able to use a higher dosage, which means HIPEC should kill more cancer cells than chemotherapy normally would.
The hope is that by following the surgery with the chemotherapy cocktail, doctors will kill the mesothelioma cells that were left behind after the cytoreductive surgery.
Unlike some other cancers, peritoneal mesothelioma does not form in a giant clump. Instead, it is made up of many tiny tumors that spread out across the peritoneum like a sheet.
Some of these tumors are so small they are invisible to the human eye. This is where the Lumicell System comes in.
Lumicell System Detects Microscopic Cells
One of the struggles surgeons encounter when they are trying to operate on a peritoneal patient is the size of the individual tumors. While some of them will be big enough for the surgeon to see, some are too small to be visible even with the help of imaging cameras.
The Lumicell System can detect microscopic mesothelioma cells and light them up onscreen while doctors are performing surgery.
If a surgeon is watching the screen, he or she will see areas of the peritoneum shining when they are infected with cancer or diseased cells. When the area stops glowing, it means there aren’t any cancer cells left.
Right now, the Lumicell System is undergoing feasibility studies. These studies are looking at how effective the system is with different forms of cancer, including mesothelioma, breast cancer, and brain cancer. The researchers want to know if the Lumicell System works better than current imaging systems.
Preventing Mesothelioma Recurrence
If the mesothelioma is caught soon enough, undergoing surgery and HIPEC puts the cancer into remission. This means the cancer is no longer growing or spreading.
However, because some of the tumors can still be left behind, remission eventually comes to an end when the leftover cells divide and form tumors again. When cancer comes back, it's called recurrence.
Ideally, using the Lumicell Imaging System will reduce the risk of recurrence, since it should help surgeons remove more of the cancer from the abdomen.
With this, there will be fewer mesothelioma cells remaining, so there will be less of a chance that cancer spreads.
By lowering the risk of recurrence, a patient's life expectancy can increase.
Imaging Technology and the Future of Mesothelioma Treatment
Developing advanced imaging technology is just as crucial as developing the treatments themselves. By having better imaging detection, doctors can detect the full scope of mesothelioma and develop tailored treatment solutions to each patient.
If you've been diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma, contact the Mesothelioma Veterans Center today. Our team can review your claim and help connect you with top mesothelioma specialists in the country.