Tool sprays brain to find tumors quickly

Tool sprays brain to find tumors quickly

Tool sprays brain to find tumors quickly.

A new tool that sprays a stream of charged solvent onto tissue may one day help brain surgeons find and remove tumors.

Brain tumors are particularly challenging to remove. Current surgical methods rely on the surgeon’s trained eye with the help of an operating microscope and imaging from scans performed before surgery. Pathological examination of specimens taken from the brain during surgery provides the most specific information about the tissue and diagnosis of the cancer. However, this examination of frozen sections takes about half an hour, which is too long for it to be useful in examining multiple samples and guiding surgery.

The tool relies on an ambient mass spectrometry analysis technique (mass spectrometry works by first turning molecules into ions, or electrically charged versions of themselves, so that they can be identified by their mass. Through mass analysis of the ions the contents of a sample can be identified).