Cancer visualisation glasses invented by African make history

By Drum Digital
08 July 2015

Samuel Achilefu's cancer visualisation glasses only work in the dark which enables surgeons to see cells that would not be conceivable to the naked eye

A Nigerian-born professor who currently resides in the US has won a prestigious award for his cancer visualisation glasses.

Samuel Achilefu, a professor of radiology biochemistry who heads up the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at St Louis, Missouri, has been awarded the St. Louis Award for his invention.

Achilefu's cancer visualisation glasses only work in the dark which enables surgeons to see cells that would not be conceivable to the naked eye.

Design Indaba explains the process in which the glasses operate as follows:

"[An] infrared flourescent marker is injected into the patient's bloodstream. The marker contains peptides that carry the liquid through the bloodstream locating and lodging it into the cancer cells. After approximately four hours the marker is competely drained from healthy cells. The wearer of the glasses, usually a surgeon, can pick up the infrared glow of the flourescents in malignant tumours that react with the dye, causing it to glow. In darkness the marker literally becomes the surgeons guiding light making it easy to trace and remove cancer cells that are hidden or very small."

Thousands of lives have potentially been saved by this invention as it picks up undetected cells that are missed in the first cancer removal surgeries.

Professor Achilefu currently lives with his wife and children in St. Louis.

We are incredibly proud of him

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