An AI tool can rapidly decode a brain tumor’s DNA to determine its molecular identity during surgery — critical information that under the current approach can take a few days and up to a few weeks.
Knowing a tumor’s molecular type enables neurosurgeons to make decisions such as how much brain tissue to remove and whether to place tumor-killing drugs directly into the brain — while the patient is still on the operating table.
Accurate molecular diagnosis — which details DNA alterations in a cell — during surgery can help a neurosurgeon decide how much brain tissue to remove. Removing too much when the tumor is less aggressive can affect a patient’s neurologic and cognitive function. Likewise, removing too little when the tumor is highly aggressive may leave behind malignant tissue that can grow and spread quickly.
Knowing a tumor’s molecular identity during surgery is also valuable because certain tumors benefit from on-the-spot treatment with drug-coated wafers placed directly into the brain at the time of the operation,
• Cryosection Histopathology Assessment and Review Machine (CHARM)
• CHARM predicted IDH mutation and 2021 WHO classification of glioma using cryosections
• CHARM provided quantitative evidence supporting the reclassification of astrocytoma
• CHARM facilitated real-time cryosection diagnoses and can be extended to other cancers
Timely and accurate intraoperative cryosection evaluations remain the gold standard for guiding surgical treatments for gliomas. However, the tissue-freezing process often generates artifacts that make histologic interpretation difficult. In addition, the 2021 WHO Classification of Tumors of the Central Nervous System incorporates molecular profiles in the diagnostic categories, so standard visual evaluation of cryosections alone cannot completely inform diagnoses based on the new classification system.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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