Eureka Prize finalist at RPH

November 11, 2013

Leading Australian breast cancer surgeon, Dr Christobel Saunders and Professor David Sampson, in association with Research Associate Professor Robert McLaughlin were nominated as finalists in the Eureka Prize for their microscopic technologies.

There are over 1.4 million new cases of breast cancer diagnosed globally each year. In Australia, 60 per cent of patients opt for breast conserving surgery. Of these women, more than a quarter are required to return because cancerous tissue was missed.

“Clearly we need more accurate ways to guide surgery – we hope this will prove a tool that can improve surgical outcomes for our patients."

Best described as a microscope in a needle, the amazing technology has been in development for the last seven years and has now been shortlisted not once, but twice for the prestigious Eureka Prize award.  The device is a fibrotic imaging tool that uses high resolution images that allow surgeons to identify and extract all of the cancerous tissue.

As well as being used to detect cancerous tissue in breasts, the platform technology may also be used for other problems in cancer such as accurately targeting brain biopsies to avoid blood vessels.

The versatility of the microscopic needle offers opportunities for the device to be used for multiple purposes. “While we currently use it in breast conserving cancer treatments, the needle may also be useful for prostate cancer procedures in the future as well,” Dr Saunders said.

The significant value and contribution of the technology is continuously being recognised, with recognition in a number of the top peer reviewed journals in the field, further emphasising the diverse possibilities of the microscopic technology.

The prestigious award recognises excellence in the fields of research and innovation, leadership and commercialisation, science journalism and communication, and school science.