The mission of Kaer Labs is to help researchers and surgeons move biomedical research forward with optical imaging. This is why we are very happy to announce the collaboration with a World top team of researchers and surgeons led by Prof. dr. Schelto Kruijff, from UMCG, in order to evaluate how NIR-II fluorescence can improve fluorescent image guided surgery.
NIR-II fluorescence, also known as SWIR (for shortwave infrared), is a technique that uses photons between 900 nm and 1700 nm. Its advantages? It pushes some of the main limitations of near infrared fluorescence. It provides:
- images with better contrast, due to reduced scattering
- no background (no autofluorescence)
- a better penetration depth
- the compatibility with some already validated NIR-I fluo molecules (e.g. ICG and ZW800)
The collaboration between Kaer Labs and UMCG will start by assessing the possibility to use NIR-II fluorescence to visualize
cetuximab-800CW in vitro, both on tissue slices and on surgical specimens just resected from patients injected with cetuximab-800CW. The results from both NIR-I and NIR-II fluorescence imaging techniques will be compared to see if the optical advantages of
NIR-II imaging lead to the improvement of margin assessment.
UMCG and Kaer Labs also aim at using the NIR-II camera from Kaer Labs in vivo during surgical procedures. The system will be used to assess parathyroid gland perfusion in order to prevent hypoparathyroidism, a known and critical complication of thyroid surgery.
The project may also include in vivo fluorescence-guided imaging for resection margin evaluation and detection of lymph node metastasis in different cancer types after injection of fluorescent markers like bevacizumab-800CW and cetuximab-800CW.
Principles of intra operative fluorescence guidance, modified from the illustration in the article from Hu et al, Nature Biomedical Engineering https://doi.org/10.1038/s41551-019-0494-0