In a development that promises to aid vascular and brain tumor surgeons, University of Arizona (UA) bioengineers have developed a novel microscope that combines two images of tissue in a single view – the optical image overlaid with a fluorescence image from dye attached to tiny structures in cells. The two views are blended into a single, color, 3D image in real time, analagous to the way that traffic and other information is overlaid onto Google Maps.
The new device is expected to play an important role aiding surgeons operating on blood vessels and differentiating tumors from normal tissue during brain cancer resections. Crucially, the “real-time” aspect will avoid any delay that might otherwise be required to look away from the microscope. Known as “augmented microscopy”, the technology is working its way towards the marketplace through the UA campus intellectual property channels. Surgeons helped develop the new scope to provide them with functional information on top of what the eye sees of the anatomy.