Development of a molecular imaging camera to guide cancer surgery

Lead Participant: Lightpoint Medical Ltd


Cancer frequently requires repeat operations. For example, nearly 1 in 4 patients in the UK
undergoing surgery for early-stage breast cancer will require a re-operation. In some NHS
trusts, the re-operation rate for breast cancer is as high as 70%. The consequences of reoperation
are substantial including delayed drug treatment, increased likelihood of recurrence,
higher risk of mastectomy and infection, poorer cosmetic outcomes, emotional distress for the
patient, and enormous financial cost to the NHS. The cost of breast cancer re-operation in the
UK is estimated at £200m per annum.
Breast cancer surgery’s failure rate is so high because surgeons have no way to detect cancer
during the operation. Today, surgeons still rely on their sense of touch to find remaining
cancerous deposits during the operation. Consequently, there is an urgent medical need for
improved tools to detect cancer in real-time during surgery and avoid re-operations.
Lightpoint Medical is developing a ground-breaking imaging technology for imaging cancer
in real-time during surgery. The technology is based on Cerenkov Luminescence Imaging
(CLI), a new imaging modality that can perform optical imaging of Positron Emission
Tomography (PET) imaging agents. The device called LightPath™ rapidly produces an image
of any residual cancer, and informs the surgeon where to remove additional tissue. The
technology has achieved proof-of-concept based on previous SMART funding from Innovate
UK. In this project we will develop the technology to the stage of pre-production prototype.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer



Lightpoint Medical Ltd


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