URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — An innovative camera can potentially revolutionize cancer-related surgeries.

Cancer Center at Illinois scientists Viktor Gruev and Shuming Nie recently developed a groundbreaking cancer imaging technology. This discovery recreated the mantis shrimp’s complex visual system in a single device to provide doctors with better images during disease detection procedures.

The team recently won a $9 million award from the National Cancer Institute to establish clinical trials with lung cancer patients at Penn Medicine.

“There are gaps in the current imaging technologies and contrast agents used in the operating room,” Gruev said. “This grant is taking a holistic approach, bringing a team together that can address the technology and also work with and receive honest feedback from surgeons.”

Nie said operating rooms equipped with the device do not need multiple cameras anymore. The team also created “see-through” goggles with 3D visualization to further improve surgeons’ views.

Photo courtesy of Cancer Center at Illinois website

Cancer Center at Illinois Director Rohit Bhargava said this project is an excellent example of how engineers can cooperate with doctors to radically change the future of cancer care. The invention has opened the door to future partnerships with healthcare organizations for its low cost, accessibility and success in previous trials.

“From the clinical side, we want to ensure that this technology is easy to use and understandable, and that is actually a valuable tool for doctors,” Gruev said. “And from the patient side, of course, we want to make sure that all cancer cells are removed from their body the first time they have a surgical procedure. Our ultimate goal is to improve the quality of life for cancer patients.”