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New tool to help brain surgeons 1 step closer to operating room
Date:1/10/2013

the same type of assessment the pathology offers, but at a pace that is compatible with surgery."

Surgeons removed 32 specimens from the patients during surgery, which were later analyzed by both the new tool and standard pathology methods to test its accuracy. The results for the patient samples were in very good agreement with standard pathology, Cooks said.

The tool relies on an ambient mass spectrometry analysis technique developed by Cooks and his colleagues called desorption electrospray ionization, or DESI.

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.

Conventional mass spectrometry requires chemical separations, manipulations of samples and containment in a vacuum chamber for ionization and analysis. The DESI technique eliminates these requirements by performing the ionization step directly on surfaces outside of the mass spectrometers, making the process much simpler, faster and more applicable to surgical settings.

The researchers used DESI to evaluate the distribution and amounts of fatty substances called lipids within the brain tissue. A software program the team developed then used the results to characterize the brain tumors and detect boundaries between healthy and cancerous tissue. The researchers identified lipid patterns that corresponded to the different types and grades of cancer and concentrations of tumor cells through earlier studies of banked brain tumor tissue.

Livia Eberlin, who was a graduate student at Purdue at the time of the study and participated in the research, said the team expanded and improved the classification system for brain cancers by adding the meningioma tumor type, prior to the study.

"The classifier includes the two most common types of brain tumors, gliomas and menin
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Contact: Elizabeth K. Gardner
ekgardner@purdue.edu
765-494-2081
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert  

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