Barnes Doctors Experiment With Cool New Toy That Kills Brain Tumors

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The Monteris Medical AutoLITT System at work.
​The doctors at Barnes Jewish Hospital have a new toy to play with and use to kill brain tumors: the Monteris Medical AutoLITT System. It's not an especially catchy name, but it sure does look cool: a thin metal wand with a glowing red laser at the tip. And doctors are finding it's a handy tool for getting rid of brain tumors in hard-to-reach places which would previously have been inoperable or resistant to chemotherapy.

"It provides us with a new way of accessing the brain in a minimally-invasive fashion," says Dr. Eric Leuthardt, "and killing a tumor where it is without having to do a large surgery and a large opening into the brain to get to certain areas." Leuthardt is one of the doctors who has been using the new system.

Surgery with the AutoLITT System begins with the doctors boring a hole into the patient's skull that's about the diameter of a pencil. Using an MRI scanner as a guide, the doctors insert the laser wand into the brain, right into the center of the tumor. The laser is so precise that it's able to burn away the cancer cells without hurting healthy tissue, and the surgeons can watch the tumor's disappearance on the MRI monitor.

Because the surgery is less-invasive, recovery time is shorter, taking days instead of weeks.

Barnes is one of the first hospitals in the country that gets to play with this technology.

The AutoLITT System doesn't work on all tumors. It's ineffective, for example, on vascular tumors, or tumors that are formed from blood vessels. But it's able to eliminate most gliomas (tumors from glial cells, the non-neurons that make up the nervous system) and metastasized tumors (cancer that originated somewhere else and spread).

To see the AutoLITT System at work, check out this video produced by Barnes:

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MandyCal
MandyCal

Laser Eye Surgery Laser surgery begins with the boring a hole into the patient's skull that's about the diameter of a pencil. Using a scanner, the doctors insert the laser wand into the brain, right into the center of the tumor. The laser is so precise that it's able to burn away the cancer cells without hurting healthy tissue.

JefferTom
JefferTom

Laser Surgery is one the best method to implement for laser surgery.These methods are costly but easy to get relief from surgery.LASEK Laser Eye Surgery.Thanks for sharing this post with us.

First
First

My wife died of a glioma (astrocytoma multiforme, grade 2 that went to 3 and then quickly went GBM grade 4), but I love hearing about advancements of seriously realistic treatment options. Yes they are still death sentences (terminal diagnoses) but at least partial resection of previously unoperable tumors might extend quality of life somewhat.

Len grove
Len grove

sorry to hear about your wife, mine too has a GBM stage 4,she was diagnosed Dec 21 2009 and still is doing quite well,she is in a trail called nova-cure and it seems to be helping,unfortunately I do not concider all GBM's to be a death sentence,I personally have talk to several people that are going strong after 15 years and some that are fighting for their lives,again I am very sorry for your lost

First
First

Not sure if you are going to see this but I wish you and your wife all the best. GBM and brain-tumors in general are something not so great but you don't get to choose those things in life do you... Seizures, focal deficits (speech, stiffness in leg/arm,...) and other side effects from the medications and tumor (intracranial pressure increase, and steroids to fix that) are not nice but overall I look back and wouldn't change a thing. She had radiation when first diagnosed (56 gray) and we waited for progression then tried Temozolomide then Avastin and neither helped. Hopefully for your wife the stats are in your favor and the newer treatment options work (as they tend to do these days). My wife was diagnosed back in early 2006 but that was ages ago with regard to current treatment methodologies, oncologists don't get paid enough do they?

Wishing you all the best my friend :)

Lengrove
Lengrove

thanks for the reply,she is now off of the temodar,will be curious to see what her next MRI looks like,keep you informed if interested

Christine
Christine

Would this enable the brain stem to be treated, as it is not currently possible to do a biopsy on the brainstem to enable gold standard diagnosis?

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