A new tool may allow surgeons to quickly identify identify the type, grade and tumor margins of brain cancer during brain surgery. The tool allows surgeons to spray a microscopic stream of charged solvent directly onto brain tissue. The solvent then gathers information about the molecular make-up of the brain tissue and produces color-coded images that give surgeons a comprehensive image of tumor cells.
In recent research done jointly at Purdue University and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, surgeons used the new tool to analyze specimens that were removed from the brain. The hope is to one day use to the tool for real-time tumor analysis on intact brain tissue during surgery. According to the research authors “such extensive and detailed information about [brain] tissue was previously unavailable to surgeons and could lead to more precise tumor removal.”