Monday, October 04, 2010

MRI-guided laser probe 'cooks' previously inoperable brain cancer

Previously inoperable brain cancers are being attacked by lasers guided by MRIs in a new technique being used by neurosurgeons from Washington University (in St. Louis). So far, only three hospitals in the U.S. have the device, the Monteris AutoLITT.

The device uses an MRI-guided high-intensity laser probe to "cook" brain tumors that are otherwise inoperable. Healthy brain tissue is unharmed.

In the latest procedure, done at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Ralph G. Dacey Jr., MD, chief of neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine, and Eric C. Leuthardt, MD, assistant professor of neurological surgery and of neurobiology at the school, used the system last month in a procedure on a patient with a recurrent brain tumor located deep in the brain.

Leuthardt said, “This tool gives us a treatment for patients with tumors that were previously deemed inoperable. It offers hope to certain patients who had few or no options before.” Besides his other position, Leuthardt, is also director of the Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology at Washington University.

The Monteris AutoLITT received FDA approval for neurosurgical use in May 2009. As only three hospitals currently have the MRI-directed laser probe, here's hoping further adoption will take place at the speed of light.

Watch a video from Monteris on the device:

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