Many critical tissue structures are difficult to see.
Traditional medical imaging modalities, such as CT, MRI, ultrasound, are powerful at differentiating different tissues types.
But they are usually done pre-operatively.
It is difficult to integrate them into intra-operative procedures, because they are cross-sectional in nature, i.e. taking image slices of tissues, whereas human vision sees the tissues from the surface on the outside.
Doctors now perform procedures mostly relying on their naked eye vision, or a magnified version of it.
Nearly 40% of in-hospital events are related to complications arising from surgical procedures. Similar challenges are also prevalent in anatomic pathology – the step immediately after surgery.
Is there a technology that can differentiate tissue types and be easily interpreted intraoperatively?
Shortwave Infrared is a portion of the optical spectrum that is immediately above the visible and near-infrared light range.
Shortwave infrared imaging was limited by the military because of its powerful night vision capabilities.
Shortwave infrared holds tremendous potential for medical applications, because main components that make up the human body, such as water, fat, collagen, have natural absorption peaks in the shortwave infrared range.
In other words, instead of being transparent or translucent, water, fat, collagen and other chemicals have their own different “colors” inside shortwave infrared.
In 2019, Dr. Angela Belcher, the head of bioengineering department at MIT and Dr. Jeremy Li, a Marble Cancer Research Fellow at the time, found out that shortwave infrared is particularly powerful at visualizing lymphatics, while collaborating with Prof. Tim Padera at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Based on this technology, Drs. Belcher and Li co-founded Cision Vision.
Dr. Angela Belcher
Head of bioengineering department, MIT
Water content contrast, between lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels and the surrounding fat, is the basis of Cision Vision’s technology.
Based on this principle, the Cision Vision team interviewed 1,000+ healthcare providers, went through 9 iterations, and developed InVision™.
InVision is an award-winning commercial product that helps pathologists find lymph nodes in surgical specimens.
Cision’s surgical imaging technology, Cision InCision™ has been awarded the National Science Foundation SBIR grant award.
(Award # 2051771)
Lymphatics is just a start.
Combining shortwave infrared with AI, we envision a future where tissue recognition insights will be shared in real-time intraoperatively.