Cancer continues to plague the entire world. This silent disease is usually undetectable until the symptoms of advanced cancer begin to surface. From diagnosis to treatment, a patient’s life hangs in the balance. Even when the cancer goes into remission, malignant cells can reappear and cause greater damage.
Founded in Boston in 2008, Lumicell Inc., through the expertise of MIT engineers, developed a system that detects and enables elimination of malignant breast cancer cells in real time. The company is currently conducting clinical studies in breast cancer and expects Food and Drug Administration approval in the near future.
The Lumicell System consists of three components — a fluorescent optical contrast agent that is cancer- and immuno-activated, a handheld imaging device that instantly scans the cavity walls to view the fluorescent cells with single cell detection and proprietary decision software that displays the image instantly on a monitor to guide surgical removal of cancerous tissue.
Apart from breast cancer, the company is exploring the use of the Lumicell System in other types of cancer, such as brain cancer, pancreatic cancer and sarcoma.
“There is no other technology like Lumicell. We create technology and pass it to institutions such as community hospitals and academic institutions, because there is no standard for treating breast cancer. The first surgery with Lumicell should be the (patient’s) last surgery,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Felix Geissler.
This ongoing endeavor, however, will not achieve its original mission without meaningful partnerships.
“Part of Lumicell’s priorities is to partner with Japan because of its expertise in fluorescent guided surgery. Japan wants to be at the forefront of innovation and be able to provide the best for its communities. Japanese surgeons are dedicated and Lumicell wants to give them an extra tool for better outcomes,” Geissler said.
Lumicell is working on other partnerships, but it needs some breakthrough results to establish these relationships so that cancer patients receive the treatment they deserve.
“My key priority is to launch the product as safe and effective, and give it to breast surgeons. We want them to get good results with the system,” Geissler said.