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SRS Microscopy: A Technique That Could Help Doctors Remove Brain Cancer

Update Date: Feb 07, 2017 09:00 AM EST

Cancer is a very deadly disease. Statistics show that the number of cancer deaths is 171.2 per 100,000 people per year. And approximately 39.6 percent of people will be diagnosed with cancer throughout their lifetimes.

Because of this, many researchers are doing the best that they can to find a better cure for cancer. As of today, common treatments for cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, palliative therapy and hormonal therapy.

And according to BBC, a new technique called SRS microscopy is now being tested that could help in analyzing brain cancers and decide how much tissue to remove. This technique has been tried to more than 360 patients in Harvard University and University of Michigan Medical School, as further discussed by BBC.

Karen Wischmeyer could have been benefited from this new technology. She is a pre-school teacher in Michigan that needed two successive operations to remove her brain tumor.

Two years ago, Karen had a massive seizure and doctors found out that she has a growing tumor in her brain. Surgeons removed some of her cancer cells, but not all. Karen said that if they used that technique on her, it would have spared her a lot of anxiety and pain. She still needs to have regular scans to ensure that no growing tumor left in her brain.

SRS microscopy is a technique wherein sections of brain tissues are to be frozen and analyzed in a lab. The analysis usually takes around 30 to 40 minutes.

After the brain tissue is analyzed, it fires a beam of light at the tissues. And the different chemical elements of normal brain tissues and cancerous cells means that the laser help surgeons in finding the tumor's outer edge.

The next step is for SRS microscopy to be tested in full clinical trials. However, it is still not clear whether this new discovery will increase the survival rate of brain cancer patients. It will not be known until it will be tested to a long term clinical trials.

Aside from SRS microscopy, a new experimental vaccine is also being tested which targets cancer cells that chemotherapy and radiation therapy missed, as per CBS Philly. This vaccine is for glioblastoma patients, a deadly type of brain cancer. However, this vaccine is still going through some more tests and trials for FDA approval.

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