Mapping the body
No replies to this topic
Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:33 AM
Scientists are developing a fluorescent liquid to inject into patients and make their hard-to-see nerves ‘glow’.
The peptide would enable surgeons to see even the most sensitive nerves instead of relying on their experience and electronic monitoring.
Avoiding these during surgery is important as accidental damage can lead to severe pain or paralysis.
Experts said that should tests on the fluorescent liquid prove a success it would be akin to construction workers being able to see where all the underground cables are buried before starting to dig, only for the first time.
The peptide has been developed by a team at the University of California’s San Diego School of Medicine and consists of a protein fragment containing amino acids.
They injected it into mice and found that it created a distinct contrast between nerves and other tissue that would have made a surgeon’s job far more easy.
To the naked eye the colour distinction between the two was ten times what it would otherwise be, the study found.
It also showed that the effect kicked in after two hours and lasted for up to eight hours with no apparent side effects on the test subject.
The researchers were also surprised to find that the peptide showed up damaged or severed nerves, so long as there was still a blood supply.
Roger Tsien, a UC professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry and co-author of the paper, said: ‘The analogy I use is that when construction workers are excavating, they need a map showing where the existing underground electrical cables are actually buried, not just old plans of questionable accuracy.
‘Likewise when surgeons are taking out tumours, they need a live map showing where the nerves are actually located, not just a static diagram of where they usually lie in the average patient.’
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users