The inability to identify microscopic tumors and assess surgical margins in real-time during oncologic surgery leads to incomplete tumor removal, increases the chances of tumor recurrence, and necessitates costly repeat surgery. To overcome these challenges, we have developed a wearable goggle augmented imaging and navigation system (GAINS) that can provide accurate intraoperative visualization of tumors and sentinel lymph nodes in real-time without disrupting normal surgical workflow. GAINS projects both near-infrared fluorescence from tumors and the natural color images of tissue onto a head-mounted display without latency. Aided by tumor-targeted contrast agents, the system detected tumors in subcutaneous and metastatic mouse models with high accuracy (sensitivity=100%, specificity=98%±5% standard deviation). Human pilot studies in breast cancer and melanoma patients using a near-infrared dye show that the GAINS detected sentinel lymph nodes with 100% sensitivity. Clinical use of the GAINS to guide tumor resection and sentinel lymph node mapping promises to improve surgical outcomes, reduce rates of repeat surgery, and improve the accuracy of cancer staging.
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