Brain cancer surgery 'could be improved with new tool'

20 October 2011

A new tool could help to remove more cancer cells during brain surgery, research has found.

Scientists at the American Chemical Society (ACS) have found that surgeons can remove more of brain tumours without taking away healthy tissue with a new tool.

The improved technique is said to improve a patient's survival rate. The tool is mainstay surgical tool termed an ultrasonic aspirator used to break up and suction tissue in order to remove cells.

Published in the ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry, the study shows that a new tool can identify the margin between cancerous and healthy tissue in half the time previously needed, meaning that less healthy tissue has to be damaged.

According to Zoltan Takats who led the study, cancer surgeries in other parts of the body often take away some healthy cells around the cancer to ensure that no infected cells are left behind.

However, neurosurgeons have to take extra care not to remove too much tissue which could affect the patient's memory, mobility and vital functions.

According to Macmillan Cancer Care brain tumours can develop at any age but people are more likely to get them as they get older.

By Edward Bartel

Takats, Zoltan, "Real Time Analysis of Brain Tissue by Direct Combination of Ultrasonic Surgical Aspiration and Sonic Spray Mass Spectrometry" ACS Analytical Chemistry, October 2011.

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