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News & Trends - MedTech & Diagnostics

Practice-changing procedure unveiled ahead of National Lung Cancer Screening program

Health Industry Hub | February 12, 2024 |

As Australia gears up for the commencement of the National Lung Cancer Screening program in 2025, the spotlight shines on a ‘practice-changing’ project that promises to reshape cancer surgery, sparking intrigue within the medical community.

Minimally invasive surgery has become standard of care for many cancer surgeries, but surgeons’ ability to see and remove all tumour tissue during these procedures is often hindered by poor visualisation.

SVHM is at the forefront of a world-first study that explores the application of a fluorescent imaging agent to enhance surgeons’ visibility during such procedures.

The study uses Vergent Bioscience’s VGT-309, a novel tumour-targeted imaging agent. Administered intravenously at least four hours before surgery, VGT-309, invented in Professor Matt Bogyo’s Lab at Stanford University School of Medicine, binds to a protein prevalent in and around cancer cells. When exposed to near-infrared light from a robotic or laparoscopic endoscope, it fluoresces, providing surgeons with real-time guidance.

Aussie medtech partners with Philips to expand access to lung screening

Associate Professor Gavin Wright, Director of Surgical Oncology at SVHM and the study’s Principal Investigator, emphasised the potential impact of this innovative approach.

“The system aims to highlight areas for removal in fluorescent green and will potentially help to increase the surgeon’s accuracy,” said A/Professor Wright. “In addition, it may help reduce the time required to find a tumour and potentially reduce the need for subsequent operations. This really is a trial of personalised precision surgery.”

Results from the Phase 2 trials were unveiled by A/Professor Wright at the World Conference of Lung Cancer in Singapore in September 2023 and more recently at the Annual Meeting of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

A/Prof Wright expressed pride in the recognition the research received, stating, “The research was acknowledged as ‘practice-changing’, which is what every research team hopes their work will be.”

Unexpectedly, the fluorescent agent revealed cancers from other organs during some surgeries, including bowel and breast cancers, in addition to the targeted lung cancer. A/Prof Wright expressed enthusiasm for further exploration of these findings.

“We look forward to the results from our ongoing, Phase 2 multi-centre VISUALIZE study, which will provide further insight regarding the potential promising impact of VGT-309 for both cancer patients and surgeons,” said Dr John Santini, President and CEO at Vergent Bioscience, underscoring the anticipation surrounding the ongoing research.

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