AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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Protein Discovery Promises to Improve Mapping of Brain Tumors

One of the challenges of brain tumor removal is ensuring no cancerous tissue remains. However, scientists from the University of Oxford recently discovered a way to highlight a protein on brain scans to allow for the edges of a tumor to be seen more clearly. The research team found a useful protein inside the blood vessels at the invasive edge of brain tumors. In tests on rats, they showed how to use the protein to define the edges of both primary and secondary tumors on MRI scans. The protein – called VCAM-1 – is released as part of an inflammatory response caused by the brain tumor. The researchers developed a special dye that recognizes and sticks to the protein. The dye highlights the protein — and thus the edges of the tumor — on MRI scans. “This research shows that we can improve imaging of brain tumors, which could help both surgeons and radiotherapists with more effective treatment,” said the lead researcher of the study. “The holy grail would be to be able to completely remove brain tumors with the help of this new imaging technique — reducing recurrence of the disease and saving more lives.” To read more about this study, click here.

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