ODS Medical's Innovative Device Could Revolutionize Brain Cancer Surgery

ODS Medical's Innovative Device Could Revolutionize Brain Cancer Surgery
Surgery is used to prevent, diagnose, stage and treat cancer. It is the oldest type of cancer therapy, and remains an effective treatment for many types of cancer, with the primary purpose to remove the entire tumor from the patient’s body. However, especially in brain cancers, some cells aren’t limited to the main tumor and can move very quickly into surrounding tissue. Their low density make them difficult to detect with current imaging techniques, lowering the accuracy and outcomes of cancer surgical procedures.

The Montreal-based startup ODS Medical is developing a handheld surgical guidance tool to improve accuracy in cancer surgery. Based on a set of advanced optical techniques, such as Raman spectroscopy, intrinsic fluorescence and diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, together with sophisticated machine learning algorithms, their laser technology measure scattered light to provide more specific information about the molecular makeup of the targeted brain tissue. The results for the probe appear on a laptop within seconds of coming into contact with brain tissue, allowing surgeons to perform more thorough resections. According to the startup, it can with accurately distinguish cancer tissue from healthy tissue in real-time during surgery with a sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 91 percent. And the system was tested on patients with grade 2, 3 and 4 gliomas, showing it was equally capable of detecting invasive cancer cells from all grades of gliomas.

Over 250,000 people are diagnosed with brain tumors each year. Scientific literature shows that improvement in patients with brain cancer, including life expectancy, is a result of how much of the cancer has been removed. While traditional imaging technology can easily identify solid tumors, cancerous cells that have invaded healthy tissue on the periphery of the tumor often remain undetected. If these cancer cells remain after surgery, they could lead to cancer recurrence and a worse prognosis. ODS Medical’s innovative technology improve brain cancer surgeries, empowering doctors to make critical decisions in real-time with unprecedented sensitivity, specificity and accuracy. This greater specificity allow surgeons to remove more cancerous cells than previously possible, ultimately improve health outcomes and extend survival rates for brain cancer patients throughout the world. And although the startup is currently focused on using the technology on brain cancer, it could be applied to any solid tumor site that require precise excisions, sparing surrounding tissue and getting cleaner margins, for example prostate cancer.

ODS Medical was founded in 2015 by Kevin Petrecca, chief of neurosurgery and head of the brain cancer research group at the Montreal Neurological Institute, Frederic Leblond, associate professor in Engineering Physics at Polytechnique Montreal, Eric Marple, entrepreneur focusing in fiber optics, and Kirk Urmey, a principle for EmVision LLC. The startup is currently seeking regulatory approval of their technology, and aim to build on their unique platform to become the leader in real-time diagnostics.