Transforming prostate cancer surgery with laparoscopic electron detection

Lead Participant: Lightpoint Medical Ltd


Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men with 12,000 men in the UK succumbing to the disease every year. Surgery remains the primary treatment option for prostate cancer but is very often unsuccessful, largely due to incomplete removal of cancerous tissue during an operation. In particular cancerous cells around the primary tumour and lymph node metastases can be frequently missed during surgery.

Surgeons often fail to remove all of the cancer because there is no way to detect cancer during surgery. They are completely dependent on their naked eye and sense of touch to identify all of the cancerous tissue. With the move towards minimally-invasive surgery now surgeons have even lost their ability to use their sense of touch. Numerous technologies have attempted to address the pressing medical need to find cancer during the surgery but none have proven sufficiently accurate and cost-effective.

Lightpoint Medical is developing a laparoscopic probe called EnLight to detect prostate cancer intraoperatively. The device detects gamma and electron signal from an imaging agent administered to the patient prior to surgery which concentrates in cancerous cells. The gamma signal is of sufficient depth to be able to guide surgeons to cancerous spread within the lymphatic system. The electron signal has a small penetrative depth and therefore can guide surgeons to any remaining cancerous tissues surrounding the primary tumour site.

The technology potentially offers rapid and high diagnostic performance during surgery, promising a complete transformation of patient outcomes. Laboratory proof-of-concept for the laparoscopic probe has been achieved. This project is a short work programme to further optimise the electron detector to ensure full compatibility with clinical needs before proceeding to clinical testing. The aim of the project is to develop a data processing algorithm to increase the electron signal. The outcome of the project will be a pre-clinically validated device ready for first-in-man testing.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer



Lightpoint Medical Ltd


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