Cancer Detection

Lumicell illuminates cancer and other diseased tissues at the molecular level, enabling physicians to take action in real-time during surgeries to improve patient outcomes.


The company’s lead product, the Lumicell System, is in late-stage development for breast cancer surgery. It features an investigational optical agent and a handheld device that enable cancer surgeons to see and remove cancer cells in real-time during operations. The Lumicell System was designed and developed by MIT engineers in partnership with leading breast cancer surgeons to fit seamlessly within the existing surgical workflow. The Lumicell System is also under investigation for colorectal cancer, Barrett’s esophagus and brain metastases.


Eliminating the need for repeat surgeries


The unprecedented ability to see and remove all cancer cells during the initial surgery has the potential to significantly improve surgical outcomes and reduce healthcare costs by eliminating the need for repeat surgeries. In approximately 30% of cancer surgeries, pathology confirms that the tumor was not extracted with clean margins. This means that cancer cells were left behind and the patient may need  to undergo a second surgery.


The surgical system


The imaging agents and devices are optimized for the specific cancer-type and surgical procedure. The imager technology is based upon a novel imaging concept developed by W. David Lee while he was a member of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT and a group of scientists, engineers, and clinicians from MIT and Duke University Medical Center. The proprietary molecular imaging agent was developed by Lumicell and is specifically designed to fluoresce when in or near cancer cells at the tumor margin during surgical resection of the tumor.


Lumicell completed a Phase 1 safety study at Duke University Medical Center in the lead indications of breast cancer and sarcoma and the first part in a two stage feasibility study at Massachusetts General Hospital in breast cancer surgery. The company is starting the next phase of its feasibility study under an FDA-approved IDE in breast cancer at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Clinical trial information can be found here.