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Open-air Imaging System Visualizes Tumors and Inflammation

January 21, 2016

Open-air Imaging System Visualizes Tumors and Inflammation

Some Sobering Statistics

For the estimated 1.7 million Americans diagnosed with cancer each year, surgery is the most popular form of treatment. For many types of cancers, it also offers the best chance of a cure. If the tumor is localized and has not yet spread, you could walk away from your procedure cancer-free. 1

Unfortunately, too many do not. It depends on a number of factors.  Not least among them is how much of the tumor a surgeon can actually see and whether or not all of the diseased tissue is removed successfully without so much as a single cancer cell remaining. In the life-and-death world of cancer surgery, happy endings are hard to come by. Too often, patients find themselves facing the trauma and pain of repeat surgeries, cancer that eventually spreads, and a shortened lifespan.

Breast cancer offers a stark example. Nearly a quarter million American women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year; most undergo some type of surgical procedure.  Despite surgery, up to 11% of affected women experience a recurrence of breast cancer or its spread to other parts of the body, and more than 40,000 die from the disease annually. 2 While there may be many reasons for the relapse, providing surgeons with a better means to see and define the margins of cancerous tumors in the first place can only improve outcomes. The question is how?

Breakthrough Technology

Thanks to the latest innovations in translational quantitative imaging by PerkinElmer, a global leader in human and environmental health, the promise of seeing what was once thought impossible is now at hand. It is the Solaris™ imaging system, “an imaging system designed to facilitate disease studies and advance next-generation, molecular-level surgical support research,” says Brian Kim, President, Life Sciences & Technology, at PerkinElmer.

What makes the Solaris system so unique is its ability to function as an open-air imaging system under the ambient lighting conditions found in preclinical surgical suites. In tandem with a portfolio of molecular fluorescence in vivo probes, the Solaris system is designed to provide researchers the ability to see in real-time and in ultra-high definition a broad spectrum of optical fluorescent images that research scientists hope will lead to new therapeutic and surgical procedures in the treatment of cancer, atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis, and other inflammatory diseases.

More Than Skin Deep

“While fluorescence imaging has been previously used to identify tumors in human studies, it has been confined to a closed chamber environment allowing researchers better control over the image environment,” says Wael Yared, R&D Leader, Imaging and Detection, at PerkinElmer. “What makes the Solaris system unique is that it is designed to work as an open-air instrument in a busy surgical suite on both small and large animals under normal surgical lighting conditions. It is very easy to use and its touchscreen operation is optimized for snapshot and real-time imaging, he says. “It also offers ambient light rejection, spectral unmixing and the inclusion of four fluorescence channels covering a wide spectrum of fluorescent agents and markers that provide fine resolution and sufficient tissue penetration to clearly visualize sub-surface signals at several millimeters.”

According to Jeffrey Peterson, Director, Applied Biology, at PerkinElmer, the Solaris system is currently designed for multispecies preclinical research, clinical translational applications, and emerging veterinary surgical applications. “It can be used for both invasive and non-invasive imaging in a variety of preclinical disease models,” Peterson notes, “including image-guided tumor detection and resection, as well as lymph node mapping and cell tracking applications.”

“The system is also useful in translational drug discovery validation in large animal models, which enhances toxicity and efficacy predictability in humans and provides critical knowledge for drug development programs,” Brian Kim says.

R&D Magazine agrees. At its annual Top 100 Awards Ceremony held in Las Vegas in November, the Solaris system earned the Silver Medal and special recognition as a Market Disruptor Product of the Year. 3

For research use only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.


  1. Cancer.Net Editorial Board, What is Cancer Surgery? See also, American Cancer Society, Cancer Facts & Figures 2015.
  2. Susan G. Komen Org., Fear of Recurrence and Relapse.
  3. Riemschneider, Bea. 2015. "Special Recognition and Editor’s Choice Awards Presented at 2015 R&D 100 Awards Banquet in Las Vegas." R&D Magazine Online.

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