Oral cavity cancer is a major public health issue, with annually 300.000 new cases and a 50% 5-year survival. Surgery is the mainstay of treatment, but adequate tumour removal is not achieved in 85% of the cases. This affects survival and leads to additional treatment of patients by radiotherapy or chemotherapy. The hands and eyes of the surgeon are insufficient for tumour delineation in the oral cavity. Significant improvement is needed to improve the surgical success rate.
In frames of RaSure, a fully automated Raman spectroscopic device is under development to achieve complete tumour removal in oral cancer surgeries. The product will consist of a dedicated Raman-based tissue inspection device, the operational system and disposable fibre-optic needle probes
A fully automatic inspection device (Ra-Sure) that can perform differentiation between cancer and healthy oral tissues will be developed to the point where it can enter clinical trials. At the end of the project the device will enable rapid (within 15 minutes) inspection of surgically removed tissue in the operating room. As such, surgical removal will be effective in 50% instead of current 15% of the cases. The direct customers of the product will be surgeons and pathologists. As part of the go-to-market strategy, key opinion leaders in oral cancer will be addressed first.
The role of art photonics is the development of the unique Raman fibre-optic needle that can be inserted into the tissue multiple times and measure without loss of quality of the results.