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New perspectives on cancer surgery
Date:9/29/2009

This release is available in German.

Instead of the classic scalpel, surgeons can also operate with an electroscalpel. A significant advantage to this technique is that while a cut is being made, blood vessels are closed off and hemorrhaging eliminated. Now another advantage may be added as well: a German-Hungarian research team has developed a mass-spectrometry-based technique by which tissues can be analyzed during a surgical procedure. As the team led by Zoltn Takts reports in the journal Angewandte Chemie, it may be possible to distinguish between malignant tumor cells and the surrounding healthy tissue in real time during cancer surgery. Until now, precise histological examination of the removed tissue has followed after tumor surgery, and has required several days. If it reveals that the tumor has not been completely removed, a second operation is needed. The new method may spare patients this second surgery in the future.

In electrosurgery, tissue is locally exposed to high-frequency electrical current in order to guide a cut, remove tissue, or halt bleeding. The tissue being treated becomes very hot and is partially vaporized. The electrical current also generates electrically charged molecules during the vaporization. The team of scientists from the University of Giessen, the Budapest firm Massprom, Semmelweis University, and the National Research Institute for Radiobiology and Radiohygiene, also in Budapest, made use of this process for their new method called rapid evaporation ionization mass spectrometry, or REIMS. They equipped an electrosurgical instrument with a special pump that sucks the vaporized cell components up through a tube and introduces the charged molecules into a mass spectrometer.

It turns out that mainly lipids, the components of cell membranes, are registered by the mass spectrometer. "Different ti
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Contact: Zoltn Takts
zoltan.takats@anorg.chemie.uni-giessen.de
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert  

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