SPECTROSCOPY/ONCOLOGY/GUIDED SURGERY: Spectroscopy approach tells whether brain tumors are primary or secondary

A tissue analysis method involving both Raman and Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, along with statistical analysis, has proven able to highlight the difference between normal brain tissue and various types of brain tumors.

The technique works in living tissue during surgery, meaning that it can help surgeons make the critical distinction as they operate. Critically, it can identify whether the tumors are due to brain cancer or are secondary cancers arising from another primary site. This is a key development that could help reveal previously undetected cancer elsewhere in the body. Information generated by this method can be combined with methods such as immunohistochemistry to diagnose and grade brain tumors to more accurately plan and execute both surgery and radiation.

The discoveries, made by researchers at Centre for Biophotonics, Lancaster University (England) could enable individualized treatment and better long-term survival. The scientists are now joining with other research teams to develop a sensor that can be used to give surgeons precise information about tissue as they operate.

1. K. Gajjar et al., Anal. Meth., doi:10.1039/C2AY25544H (2012).

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