More than Skin Deep: Screening Cancer with Optical Biopsy
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More than Skin Deep: Screening Cancer with Optical Biopsy

[Cristina Canavesi] In the world, over 350 million major surgeries take place each year and half of these are to treat cancer and the
technologies available help doctors towards a minimally invasive surgery, but
they fall short because they don’t let you see what’s below the surface and
that’s critically important when you’re trying to remove cancer and make sure
you’re preserving as much as possible of the healthy tissue. At LighTopTech we’re working on a medical breakthrough that’s called optical biopsy and with
our product we can see individual cells inside of tissue in real-time and in a
completely non-invasive way so there’s no cutting and there’s no additional
waiting time. The technology was invented over ten years ago by my co-founder
Professor Jannick Roland at the University of Rochester. [Jannick Rolland] It’s kind of the ability that you could with light probe beneath the surface of tissue for example. And so
you could imagine that if you could see below the surface of tissue you could,
for example, skin cancer, you could look at that you could also do colposcopy for screening for cervical cancer and those kind of things. And it
was at a time where personally I had an experience where I needed to have a
biopsy and actually that could have caused me to lose my child. I was
actually pregnant at the time and I didn’t know that. That was also the time
where I saw those first images and so for me it kind of connected the dots. I’m
like, you know, if we could really do this optical biopsy, we could really
actually save lives in fact, in that very experience that I had personally. [Cristina] This technology used in conjunction to guide surgery it can lead to better outcomes. It can lead
to less invasive surgeries. It can lead to more effective treatment and taking
care of the the cancer all in one shot. [Jannick] We are two women in science as co-founders so it’s kind of a little unusual. I think that’s a fantastic
perhaps example for the women to realize their potential as well because none of
us, Cristina or I, originally had this grand plan. It just
kind of, the ecosystem of innovation and trying to really get the
technology out to the world, I think that’s what kind of launched
us into becoming entrepreneurs. [Cristina] I was very fortunate that I ended up joining Professor Rolland’s group. I’ve been constantly inspired by her as a
scientist and we try to show an example of the kind of impact that women can
have in science and society by doing what we do.


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