A new study has revealed that doctors can use lasers to rapidly analyze brain cancer and decide on the tissues to cut out.
This is one decision that has always troubled the medical practitioners since cutting too little of it can risk the cancer coming back while too much can cause disability, reports Iran Daily.
This new innovation referred to as SRS microscopy has been tested on over 360 patients at Harvard University and the University of Michigan Medical School.
After having proven successful, it now moves to step two, which is clinical trials.
According to Dr Daniel Orringer, one of the study researchers, brain cancer can be likened to a cloud; it is possible to define its centre as well as the edges but discerning it is a daunting task.
Brain cancer is differentiated from the other cancers such as bowel cancer in that doctors can easily cut the surrounding tissues unlike the case of the brain which lacks non-essential tissue.
The latest technology could have been much beneficial to Karen Wischmeyer, a pre-school teacher in Michigan, reports BBC News.
When she suffered from brain cancer, she had to undergo two operations in succession to get rid of the tumor. The operation required had been triggered by the discovery of a growth in her brain.
Surgeons quickly got to work but unfortunately left out left out some sections.
While speaking to a BBC reporter, Karen said that the technique would have greatly helped her lower anxiety and pain.
“I had two craniotomies [removing part of the skull], weeks of bad headaches, about four months total recovery time and I missed a lot of school,” she says.
Operation of the technology
The procedure right now is to take some brain sections to the lab, freeze them and dye before beginning the analysis process. The entire tome required for the analysis is 30 to 40 minutes.
The technology is placed in the lab where it fires a beam of light on the tissue, changing the laser-light’s properties as determined by where it strikes.
Since the cancerous cell and normal brain tissue differ in their chemistry composition, it is possible for the surgeons to identify the tumor’s edge.
This is a technology that has been received with much enthusiasm although there is no evidence that it increases the survival rates. That is information that will be available once the long-term clinical trials have been finalized.