Chloe Hedaya and Evan Berman
When one is diagnosed with brain cancer, surgery is an option, yet it always comes with risks. When the surgeon finally comes into contact with the tumor, they are faced with two options:either ensure that the whole tumor gets removed by additionally cutting out some healthy tissue, or leave the healthy tissue alone yet risk leaving some cancer behind. However, based on preliminary testing, scientists in the Netherlands have created a device to aid surgeons in making their decisions. Surgeons have been using a computer during the early hours of brain tumor surgery that scans a small segment of the tumor’s DNA, giving them a comprehensive diagnosis of the tumor, revealing its type and sometimes its subtype. Knowing the type of tumor drastically helps the surgeons make better, more informed decisions when deciding how aggressive to be with the tumor.
Initially, this method was tested on frozen tumors previously extracted from past brain surgeries. The system was impressively able to accurately diagnose about 90% of the cases within only 40 minutes. After the trial’s immeasurable success, scientists began testing on live brains during surgery, which they found was 72% effective and able to detect the tumor type within 90 minutes. This device provides a leap in the right direction as it allows doctors to thoroughly understand what they are treating rather than spending time testing and analyzing results. Not only does this help them in surgery, but if they can more comprehensively categorize the cancers, they may be able to find new treatments for the targeted type of cancer.