Doctors treat deep brain tumor with novel MRI-guided laser technology

by Jackie Carr
With MRI guidance, Chen can safely destroy tumors seated deep in the patient’s brain.

Using a novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided laser technology, neurosurgeons at UC San Diego Health System have successfully treated a malignant tumor deep inside a patient's brain. This is the first time that this FDA-approved laser-based treatment has been performed in California.

"The patient's brain was located in the thalamus. Normally, to access a tumor in this region, the surgeon would have to remove considerable healthy , thus subjecting the patient to significant neurologic injury," said neurosurgeon Clark C. Chen, MD, PhD, vice chairman of research, UC San Diego Division of Neurosurgery. "This MRI-guided laser technology helps neurosurgeons preserve healthy brain tissues while allowing treatment of tumors that would otherwise be inoperable."

Chen and his team used a technique called laser interstitial thermal therapy. The procedure is performed inside an MRI machine while the patient is under general anesthesia. A dime-size hole is created in the patient's skull to access the tumor. A laser probe is then inserted into the tumor under real-time MRI monitoring and computer guidance. When the tumor is reached, the laser beam is activated, heating and destroying .

Doctors treat deep brain tumor with novel MRI-guided laser technology
Neurosurgeon Clark Chen, MD, PhD, treats recurrent brain cancer with MRI-guided laser technology at UC San Diego Health System.

"It is well-known that MRI can be used to generate detailed images of the brain. What is less known is that MRI can also be used to measure the internal temperature of the brain," said Chen. "With this application, I can view the tumor in real time as it is being destroyed while customizing the effects of the laser to the tumor without injuries to the surrounding normal brain. This incredible visualization allows neurosurgeons to preserve billions of neuronal connections that are essential for normal brain function."

Many types of can be treated using this , according to Chen, including glioblastomas, anaplastic astrocytomas and brain metastases. A comprehensive risk-benefit analysis is conducted for each patient to determine if a minimally invasive or open-approach is best suited to the patient's specific tumor type. Chen added that his goal in all procedures is to destroy the tumor while maintaining the highest quality of life for his patients.

Patients undergoing thermal ablation are typically discharged from hospital one day after the procedure and can return to normal activities. The laser ablation requires real-time MRI monitoring and a dedicated intra-operative MRI team. The procedure cannot be performed in a conventional operating room.

The NeuroBlate System was developed by Monteris Medical, Inc., Plymouth, MN. The NeuroBlate System is also used to treat epileptic disorders and chronic inflammation caused by ionizing radiation.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Real-time MRI-guided gene therapy for brain cancer

Aug 07, 2013

Neurosurgeons at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center are among the first in the world to utilize real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) guidance ...

Brain tumor removal through a hole smaller than a dime

Nov 04, 2013

More than two decades ago, Ryan Vincent had open brain surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor, resulting in a lengthy hospital stay and weeks of recovery at home. Recently, neurosurgeons at Houston Methodist Hospital removed ...

Brain surgeons go with the flow

Nov 22, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Neurosurgeons at UC San Diego Health System are using a new approach to visualize the brain's delicate anatomy prior to surgery. The novel technique allows neurosurgeons to see the brain's ...

Recommended for you

Immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in brain cancers

Nov 21, 2014

New evidence that immune checkpoint inhibitors may work in glioblastoma and brain metastases was presented today by Dr Anna Sophie Berghoff at the ESMO Symposium on Immuno-Oncology 2014 in Geneva, Switzerland.

New model of follow up for breast cancer patients

Nov 21, 2014

Public health researchers from the University of Adelaide have evaluated international breast cancer guidelines, finding that there is potential to improve surveillance of breast cancer survivors from both a patient and health ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.