Performing surgery to remove brain tumors is tricky (to say the least) because primary brain tumors look just like ordinary brain tissue. While fluorescent imaging works with most tumors, it is not sensitive enough for tumors that are less metabolically active, like low-grade gliomas. Enter three Dartmouth MD-PhDs who have developed a new probe that aids in accurately diagnosing cancerous brain tissue. The probe combines violet-blue and white light and reads how the light passes through tissue, measuring five biomarkers, to determine if the tissue is cancerous. Results from a ten person pilot study show that when used in tandem with the traditional fluorescing technique, the probe increases the accuracy of cancer identification from 64% to 94%. Dr Paulsen, one of the three on the project, says that "the probe is basically an enabling technology... – a visual aid" and that when it was first tested results were, "jaw-dropping. The tumor glowed like lava."
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA