Laser system gives clear, real-time image of brain tumors for surgery

SRS microscopy image of a human glioblastoma brain tumor (blue) in the brain of a mouse--Courtesy of Harvard U.

Using a laser-based technique called SRS microscopy, researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School and Harvard University are developing an approach to brain tumor surgery that could help make the procedure more accurate. The imaging system allows the researchers to tell the difference between the healthy brain and cancer tissue by detecting the strength of a light as it scatters off different materials in the organ, creating videos of the tissue in real time. Beyond testing the device in mouse models, the team performed successful tests in tissue removed from a patient with the particularly aggressive brain tumor glioblastoma multiforme. The researchers are collaborating with their own start-up Invenio Imaging, which is developing the laser with inexpensive fiber-optics. Funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), they plan to continue examining human cancer tissue as early as next year. Release