A new nanotech laser-like solution may help surgeons more completely remove brain tumors, especially those called glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Instead of guessing which cells are cancerous, this new scanner can identify them for sure so that only and hopefully all the tumor cells are surgically removed.
The method, reported in the journal ACS Nano, has been developed using mouse brains and could one day vastly improve the outlook for human patients.
The day before surgery was to take place, researchers injected “Raman nanoprobes” into a in a mouse model that mimics human GBM. The nanoprobes headed right to tumor cells and avoided ordinary brain cells. Then the researchers used a handheld device similar to a laser pointer that allows them to identify and remove all malignant cells in the rodents’ brains.
Some steps of this procedure have already made it to human testing for other purposes. So researchers hope this process will move quickly into clinical trials. And they hope eventually to use the device to treat other types of brain cancer.