'Fingerprinting' breakthrough offers improved brain tumour diagnosis

'Fingerprinting' breakthrough offers improved brain tumour diagnosis

(Medical Xpress)—UK scientists have made a breakthrough in a new method of brain tumour diagnosis, offering hope to tens of thousands of people.

Researchers, led by Professor Francis Martin of Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University, have shown that infrared and – coupled with – can be used to tell the difference between normal and the different tumour types that may arise in this tissue, based on its individual biochemical-cell 'fingerprint'.

Spectroscopy is a technique that allows us to analyse light interactions with samples such as tissue by generating a spectrum, which is a reflection of the interrogated sample.

Currently, when surgeons are operating to remove a it can be difficult to spot where the tumour ends and normal tissue begins.

But new research published online in this month has shown it is possible to spot the difference between diseased and normal tissue using Raman spectroscopy – a type of spectroscopy which works effectively on living tissue, giving accurate results in seconds.

This is a key development which means it is now theoretically possible to test living tissue during surgery, helping doctors to remove the complete tumour whilst preserving intact adjacent healthy tissue.

The fingerprinting technique was also able to identify whether the tumours arose in the brain or whether they were secondary cancers arising from an unknown primary site. This is a key development which could help reveal previously undetected cancer elsewhere in the body, improving .

Professor Francis Martin said: "These are really exciting developments which could lead to significant improvements for individual patients diagnosed with brain tumours. We and other research teams are now working towards a sensor which can be used during to give surgeons precise information about the tumour and tissue type that they are operating on."

The information obtained by this method can be combined with conventional methods, for example immunohistochemistry, to diagnose and grade brain tumours to allow for more accurate planning and execution of surgery and/or radiation therapy.
This offers more potential for individualised treatment and better long-term survival.

More information: K Gajjar et al, Anal. Methods, 2012, DOI: 10.1039/c2ay25544h . http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2012/ay/c2ay25544h

Related Stories

Open cancer surgery set to become a thing of the past

Sep 24, 2008

The surgeon's knife is playing an ever smaller role in the treatment of cancer, as it is replaced by increasingly efficient and safe radiation therapy techniques. Progress in radiation technology will also lead to better ...

Research makes significant cancer breakthrough

Aug 08, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- A major breakthrough by scientists at Queen's University Belfast could lead to more effective treatments for throat and cervical cancer. The discovery could see the development of new therapies, which ...

Improved image analysis for MRI

Jul 16, 2012

Reliable, accurate and repeatable analysis of medical images continues to be a challenge in disease treatment. A European research initiative has developed robust and efficient computing techniques for image ...

Recommended for you

Biologists reprogram skin cells to mimic rare disease

2 hours ago

Johns Hopkins stem cell biologists have found a way to reprogram a patient's skin cells into cells that mimic and display many biological features of a rare genetic disorder called familial dysautonomia. ...

Student seeks to improve pneumonia vaccines

Aug 20, 2014

Almost a million Americans fall ill with pneumonia each year. Nearly half of these cases require hospitalization, and 5-7 percent are fatal. Current vaccines provide protection against some strains of the ...

Seabed solution for cold sores

Aug 20, 2014

The blue blood of abalone, a seabed delicacy could be used to combat common cold sores and related herpes virus following breakthrough research at the University of Sydney.

User comments