New technique might allow surgeons to identify edges of cancers
Ji et al/Science Translational Medicine
A tiny probe equipped with a laser might reveal what the human eye doesn’t always see: the difference between a tumor and healthy tissue. A new study suggests the device might provide brain surgeons with a roadmap as they go about the delicate business of removing tumors.
Surgeons try to excise as much of brain tumors as possible, but they risk harming the patient if they remove healthy tissue. “This problem,” says surgeon Daniel Orringer of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, “has vexed brain surgeons for as long as they have taken out tumors,” since the first half of the 20th century. “Basically, we do it by feel — the texture, color and vascularity of the tissues. Tumors tend to bleed a little more than normal brain.”
Although removing and testing tissue samples, or biopsies, can help to characterize the tissue at the tumor margins, it’s a cumbersome and time-consuming process. In the new study, Orringer and