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Novel system for in situ visualization of solid tumors and sentinel nodes within the patient’s body

Stanford Reference:



Researchers at Stanford University have developed a novel system that provides in situ visualization of solid tumors and sentinel nodes within the patient’s body. Solid tumor surgeons aim to remove the full extent of the intact cancerous tumor while also avoiding resection of the surrounding normal tissue. Solid tumors have no natural cavity, making it difficult for surgeons to visualize and remove the tumor inside the body’s cavity. During breast cancer and melanoma surgery sentinel nodes are also harvested to assess whether the tumor has metastasized. These nodes are detected using radioactivity, however the radiation-detecting probe itself merely clicks when near the radiation, leaving surgeons without detailed spatial information when performing surgery. Researchers at Stanford University have invented a device that allows the surgeon to visualize the tumor and sentinel nodes 3-dimensionally inside of the patient’s body using an Augmented Reality display to guide surgical removal of the cancerous tissue. This device consists of four physical components: an implanted tumor marker and detector device, preoperative CT or MRI volumetric tumor imaging, intraoperative tumor tracking, and an augmented-reality computer and display with custom software. Together these components provide a novel device that will aid solid tumor surgeons in visualizing the tumor imaging data within the body cavity. In addition, sentinel nodes can be visualized within the body cavity using the standard clinical radiation detector combined with the Augmented reality display. This is a remarkable advantage over current methods that display imaging data on screen, requiring the surgeon to look away from their patient.


Video Description:

This video shows a user detecting and visualizing simulated radiation in a breast model. This work was done by Serena Wong, the team's summer undergraduate student.


  • Aid surgeons in visualizing solid tumors within the patient’s body cavity
  • Aid surgeons in visualizing sentinel nodes within the patient’s body cavity by combining standard radiation detector with Augmented Reality display
  • Marker/detector system provides rapid estimate of depth or distance from the detector to the marker in the tissue


  • In situ visualization of the tumor within the patient’s body
  • In situ visualization of the sentinel nodes within the patient’s body
  • CT or MRI imaging data is highly accurate and has been established as the gold standard for tumor imaging
  • Ensures precise localization of tumors by tracking implanted marker using intraoperative tracking

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Date Released

 12/1/2021 12:00

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Irit Gal, Senior Licensing Associate
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Related Keywords

MD: imaging: CT (computed tomography)   MD: imaging: all modalities   MD: imaging: MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)   MD: imaging: solid tumors   MD: imaging: software