Revolutionary New Probe Zooms In On Cancer Cells

Revolutionary New Probe Zooms In On Cancer Cells
The probe allows surgeons to see very small densities of cancer
cells in the brain during surgery. (Credit: Science
Translational Medicine; Petrecca K, Leblond F et al.)
Brain cancer patients may live longer thanks to a newly developed cancer-detection method. The researchers have created a powerful new intraoperative probe for detecting cancer cells. The hand-held Raman spectroscopy probe enables surgeons, for the first time, to accurately detect virtually all invasive brain cancer cells in real time during surgery. The probe is superior to existing technology and could set a new standard for successful brain cancer surgery. The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
 
Image of Raman Spectroscopy Probe
Image of Raman Spectroscopy Probe
(Credit: Science Translational Medicine;
Petrecca K, Leblond F et al.)
The probe technique uses laser technology to measure light scattered from molecules. The emitted light provides a spectroscopic signal that can be interpreted to provide specific information about the molecular makeup of the interrogated tissue. The Raman spectroscopy probe has a greater than 92% accuracy in identifying cancer cells that have invaded into normal brain.
 
The Raman probe was tested on patients with grade 2, 3 and 4 gliomas, which are highly invasive brain cancers. The research showed that the probe is equally capable of detecting invasive cancer cells from all grades of invasive gliomas. There is strong evidence that the extent of tumour removal affects prognosis for all grades of invasive gliomas.
 
In order to show that the use of this system improves patient outcomes, a clinical trial will be launched for patients with newly diagnosed and recurrent glioblastoma. If positive, this portable intraoperative Raman Spectroscopy probe will improve brain cancer surgeries and in turn extend survival times for brain cancer patients.   Based on material originally posted by McGill University.