Glowing Tumor Margins Improve Surgical Outcomes

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AAGL’s Global Congress to Feature TEDMED Speaker Dr. Quyen Nguyen To Discuss Innovative Research on Molecular Fluorescence Imaging

Surgeons are taught from textbooks which conveniently color-code different types of tissues, but that’s not what it looks like in real life – until now. Discussing her breakthrough research on molecular fluorescence imaging, Quyen T. Nguyen, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor, Department of Surgery Division on Otolaryngology, U.C. San Diego, will be the Keynote Speaker at the Women Surgeons’ Breakfast on Wednesday, November 19 at the AAGL Global Congress in Vancouver, B.C. Canada. The AAGL (American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists) is one of the world’s largest member medical organizations and is comprised of over 7,000 physicians and health care providers committed to advancing minimally invasive gynecologic surgery (MIGS).

As part of their mission to bring innovative, cutting-edge education to its members, the AAGL selected Dr. Nguyen to describe how a molecular marker can make tumors light up in neon green, showing surgeons exactly where to cut. This discovery can help improve surgical outcomes for all types of surgery, especially minimally invasive surgery which requires precise technical skill as it is performed through small incisions used as “ports” for a minute camera and specialized instruments. As the practice of minimally invasive surgery increases (e.g. in 2012, 63% of approximately 600,000 hysterectomies in the United States were performed using minimally invasive surgery compared to 30% in 2002), the development of this research will be important to watch.

In 2011, Dr. Nguyen discussed her work in a TEDMED Talk entitled “Have you got that inner glow?” In collaboration with Roger Tsien, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, 2008, their initial effort yielded a “smart” probe that makes tumor margins fluoresce or “glow” and thus easier for surgeons to see and remove accurately during surgery. Their more recent joint effort resulted in another type of probe that can make nerves glow, thus helping surgeons repair injured nerves and avoid inadvertent injury. Recently, Dr. Nguyen was awarded a 5-year NIH grant for her research.

AAGL’s annual Global Congress runs from November 17-21, 2014 and is the premiere scientific event designed to meet the educational needs of practicing gynecologic surgeons, residents and fellows, operating room personnel, and other allied healthcare professionals. The theme of the Congress is “Setting New Standards in Minimally Invasive Gynecology through Knowledge and Innovation” and will focus on subjects that are relevant to gynecologists as well as recent developments, instrumentation and surgical techniques.

AAGL’s Global Congress embodies their global commitment to women’s health care by providing continuing medical education to physicians and professionals to further promote the well-documented high standards of minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.

About the AAGL
The AAGL ( is the first and one of largest organizations in the world dedicated to gynecologic endoscopic surgery. Founded in 1971, AAGL works to advance the safest and most efficacious diagnostic and therapeutic techniques that afford less invasive treatments for gynecologic conditions through the integration of clinical practice, research, and innovation. For the past 43 years, the organization has educated the world’s finest surgeons while improving the lives of women everywhere.

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Elena Schweppe
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