University of Michigan neurosurgeons are now testing a new microscopic technology that helps to distinguish between tumor tissue and the normal brain tissue in real time so they can more successfully remove the tumors.
“It allows the surgical decision-making process to become data driven instead of relying on the surgeon’s best guess,” says Dr. Daniel Orringer, the U-M neurosurgeon piloting the technology. “We’re able to visualize tumor that otherwise would be invisible to the surgeon in the operating room.”
Orringer says U-M surgeons have used the stimulated Raman scattering microscope to image more than 60 patients samples since June — the first clinical test of the technology. As the doctors continue testing the microscope, they are building a second-generation system that can be easily operated during surgery.
“By optimizing surgical results, we’re ensuring that the patients will have the best possible outcomes after brain tumor surgery,” he says.
He says the device would sit close to the operating table, and surgeons could insert a fresh tissue sample into the device, generating microscopic images immediately. To get similar images to what the Raman scattering microscope produces today, surgeons have to wait more than a half hour for tissue to be frozen, sectioned, stained, and interpreted by pathologists.
If testing of the microscope goes well, Orringer says the technology could be submitted for FDA approval within two years.
The latest U-M research on the microscope is published in Science Translational Medicine.