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Optically Tunable Solid Tissue Phantom

Value Proposition

The ability to remove cancerous tissue surgically is heavily dependent on preoperative data and the surgeon’s experience and knowledge in the operating room. Therefore, the need to provide a reliable intraoperative sensing modality could have great utility in the operating room. Optical fluorescence imaging techniques such as fluorescence spectroscopy can differentiate cancerous from healthy tissues based on metabolic activity. These imaging techniques can be used to provide real-time feedback to surgeons when performing ablation or excision procedures. Solid, tissue-mimicking phantoms are required to perform validation studies to improve these techniques for detection and removal of cancerous tissue. Previous work on the development of fluorescence imaging has used liquid phantoms. The proposed technology would allow such studies to be performed on solid phantoms that are closer in mechanical properties to actual tissue.


A novel Duke technology which provides methods and composition of fabrication a solid, gel brain phantom with precisely tunable optical properties that mimic the changes in photochemical signal in both normal and cancerous tissues. This technology could be used to manufacture homogeneous or heterogeneous phantoms to calibrate and evaluate the performance of fluorescence imaging techniques as well as to develop surgical techniques for removal of cancerous tissue.

Intellectual Property

US Patent Application Pending

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