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Neurosurgeons Use MRI-Guided Lasers To Destroy Tumors

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the laser-brained dept.

Medicine 70

breadboy21 writes "In the seemingly perpetual battle to rid this planet of cancer, a team of neurosurgeons from Washington University are using a new MRI-guided high-intensity laser probe to 'cook' brain tumors that would otherwise be completely inoperable. According to Dr. Eric C. Leuthardt, this procedure 'offers hope to certain patients who had few or no options before,' with the laser baking the cancer cells deep within the brain while leaving the good tissue around it unmarred. The best part, however, is that this is already moving beyond the laboratory, with a pair of doctors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital using it successfully on a patient last month. Regrettably, just three hospitals at the moment are equipped with the Monteris AutoLITT device, but if we know anything about anything related to lasers, it'll be everywhere in no time flat."

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70 comments

Damn (2, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777456)

They totally misread the request by the Dr. Evil, he asked for sharks with lasers ON their heads, not humans with lasers IN their heads.

These scientists, always get some mundane detail like that wrong and totally spoil the scheme.

--

OTOH this is freaking cool. How do they get the lasers only to burn the cancer cells and not burn tissue on the way to the cancer cells?

Re:Damn (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777642)

How do they get the lasers only to burn the cancer cells and not burn tissue on the way to the cancer cells?

By focusing the light on the tumor.

Re:Damn (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#33781344)

If the nucleus of the cancer cell is black, then one can preferentially toast them like the balloon demos.

For lack of a better name, a liquid cover slip with an index of 1.533 to match cytoplasm would allow one to light things up without tiny lenses distorting the beam.

Maybe someone with good Google-fu can find the images of HeLa on a slide, cervical cancer with a surface like stucco, and a cervix that is gray with cancer that show the effect.

Re:Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788198)

No. The laser is delivered to the target via fiber optics. That means the laser fiber in guided to the tumor, and laser light only escapes on the tip, which off course should be placed where the intended tissue to be necrotized is. You can find out more about this technology at http://www.visualaseinc.com

Re:Damn (2, Informative)

Znork (31774) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777712)

How do they get the lasers only to burn the cancer cells and not burn tissue on the way to the cancer cells?

It's not an external laser, it's a probe emits the laser beam from one side. So you still need to stick the probe into the brain until you get to the parts you want to light up.

Re:Damn (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777788)

When you look around from inside, everything looks like a tumor!

Re:Damn (2, Funny)

EdZ (755139) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779346)

"See, you can check your anatomy all you want, and even though there may be normal variation, when you get down to it this far inside the head it all looks the same. No nonono, don't tug on that, you never know what it might be attached to".

Re:Damn (1)

Phase Shifter (70817) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777752)

They totally misread the request by the Dr. Evil, he asked for sharks with lasers ON their heads, not humans with lasers IN their heads.

But this would totally explain the "Why don't sharks get cancer?" meme that was going around [google.com] a few years back.

Re:Damn (1)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778612)

How do they get the lasers only to burn the cancer cells and not burn tissue on the way to the cancer cells?

Magic.

Re:Damn (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 3 years ago | (#33782266)

How do they get the lasers only to burn the cancer cells and not burn tissue on the way to the cancer cells?

By focusing the light on the tumor

Or by using multiple lasers at lower intensities- so tumors will only burn where the beams cross.

just leave the metal in there thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33777510)

another big wow for stuff that's proving to kill folks in its' current form as well. not the magnets themselves, but the goop used to make one 'light up' for the pictures. personal experience speaking here.

Re:just leave the metal in there thanks (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779036)

I've got to agree with you on leaving the metal in there.

I've got a shunt in my skull that pumps the spinal fluid down into my abdominal cavity. (One of the joys of spina bifida.) As a consequence, I have plenty of plastic tubing in my head that's no longer attached to anything useful. It's just floating there. And the reason is simple: It's a lot safer to just leave it in there than it is to go in and get it.

Seemingly perpetual battle? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33777526)

You're right... this pointless war has gone on too long, let's just legalize cancer and be done with it.

Re:Seemingly perpetual battle? (1, Redundant)

Krau Ming (1620473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777558)

Get off our planet, cancer, once and for all! Go back to your crab star system and stop eating our brains!

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33777542)

want to welcome our new shark mounted, brain seeking, laser overlords.

Meanwhile (2, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777568)

It's a good thing that great advances are being made in very specialized areas of medicine. Meanwhile, the leading killer world-wide is still heart disease which receives disproportionately inadequate funding despite recent progress in PTCA stenting, etc. Machines like this may grab funding dollars and headlines, but they don't save very many lives.

Re:Meanwhile (5, Insightful)

npuzzle (1875242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777600)

Many heart problems can be solved through prevention; sadly, the same cannot be said for many neurological conditions.

Re:Meanwhile (4, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777792)

Many heart problems can be solved through prevention; sadly, the same cannot be said for many neurological conditions.

That's right. Just stop the smoking, drinking heavily, stop the junk food and get out and get some moderate exercise would prevent many if not most of the heart disease (and stroke) in the World. Not smoking would also prevent a lot of impotence too. It would be much more cost effective to spend a fraction of the money on education than whiz bang, usually obscenely expensive, gadgetry.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33780320)

Just stop the smoking, drinking heavily, stop the junk food and get out and get some moderate exercise would prevent many if not most of the heart disease (and stroke) in the World.

The absolutely sure way to die of boredom in an "extremely healthy" condition.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | more than 3 years ago | (#33780722)

If without the above you'd die of boredom, then we're probably better off without you.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#33783094)

Luckily for both of us, this planet is big enough to allow us continue to ignore one each other for the slice of time we share it. Therefore, I don't have to waste time arguing that my choice in mine only, no matter if believe that you, the righteous, will inherit the Earth after my - possibly premature - dismissal.
Thank you for wishing me "Good riddance", anyway.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

VolciMaster (821873) | more than 3 years ago | (#33787992)

Many heart problems can be solved through prevention; sadly, the same cannot be said for many neurological conditions.

That's right. Just stop the smoking, drinking heavily, stop the junk food and get out and get some moderate exercise would prevent many if not most of the heart disease (and stroke) in the World. Not smoking would also prevent a lot of impotence too. It would be much more cost effective to spend a fraction of the money on education than whiz bang, usually obscenely expensive, gadgetry.

We already do spend money on "education" in all those areas - we still smoke, eat junk food, and laze around all day because we like things tht are enjoyable and not so much the things that will benefit us

Re:Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33794290)

Expensive? surely it must go 'ping'

Re:Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778016)

Thank you. As someone who suffers from a hereditary neurological condition, I have to say that I'm not a bit sorry to see funding go to neurological studies over cardio studies. It'll be years before they even approach a cure for me.

If ever. Right now everything is stop gap measures to treat pain. I have little sympathy for folks who can avoid their conditions by eating healthy and exercising.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779520)

Thank you. As someone who suffers from a hereditary neurological condition, ... I have little sympathy for folks who can avoid their conditions by eating healthy and exercising.

How about sterilization?

Re:Meanwhile (1)

BraksDad (963908) | more than 3 years ago | (#33780908)

Many heart problems can be solved through prevention; sadly, the same cannot be said for many neurological conditions.

I just reduce my brain usage. Not a huge loss.

Re:Meanwhile (4, Insightful)

Kurofuneparry (1360993) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777748)

Yes, coronary disease is a big problem and yes it's the major killer in the US [cdc.gov] but it isn't the major killer worldwide [who.int], just in developed nations. You'll notice on the first link that cancer is still way up on causes of death in the US and, despite your claims to the contrary, I can assure that now in my second year of medical school that coronary syndromes are a major focus in medical education and research.

The work these scientists did is certainly not the first implementation of this idea but it's quite worth the investment. Stenting is not a miracle cure and likely wont ever be; it's just delaying the inevitable. The only powerful approach to reducing heart related deaths is prevention and education; even then, most deaths due to 'old age' are written up as heart related deaths so they'll keep going up as we get better at fighting the world's real number one killer: simple infections.

Then again, I'm an idiot ......

Re:Meanwhile (5, Informative)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777990)

but it isn't the major killer worldwide,

      Yeah, that's why in the very last paragraph of the linked page you provided it's listed as the #1 killer worldwide.

      As a second year med student please take some advice from this attending physician: while there are certain ways in which the data is sliced demographically that ends up presenting other pathologies as number one, the overall aggregate data clearly states that heart disease is #1 worldwide with 7.2 million cases per year. Right there at the bottom of the page where it says "World". Picking and choosing data is an error that is committed very often nowadays - people try to create "meta-analyses" that demonstrate their pet theory but conveniently leave out all the studies that fail to support their theories. This is bad science. Don't do it. Either look at all of the data, or make sure that have have the right tools to evaluate your special subset of data in the context of the big picture.

      I agree that stenting is a stop-gap at best, and long term patient compliance with CAD medications will always be a challenge. The future, as you say, lies in prevention and raising awareness of the real causes of CAD: Smoking, sedentarism/obesity, diet and lastly genetics.

      Good luck in your studies.

Re:Meanwhile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33779364)

Stenting is a life saving procedure, CAD and related heart medication is equally life saving.
While it may be true that preventional medicine is the most effective way to get rid of heart disease it is still an ideological dream, in reality you will never see preventional medicine eradicating heart disease. And your life as an average physician will be about treating disease, not preventing it.

While i don't belive either cancer or heart related medical research should stop i do belive that cancer is a thougher problem to tackle due to the vast diversity of manifestations, as compared to heart disease which primarily relates to dysfunction of a single organ which can be solved in a much more elegant and generalized way as compared to cancer..

Re:Meanwhile (1)

hydromike2 (1457879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778236)

I suppose one could argue that the only reason that heart disease is above cancer on the list is because we are 'curing' cancer in enough people now that their hearts are giving out before cancer rears its ugly head again. I have no number in front of me so that is just speculation.

To build upon the post above mine, something has to kill us or rather something has to wear out. I imagine that if treating cancer becomes a semi-trivial procedure and people start taking better care of their hearts then all the research is going to go into brain disease. Eventually we will have a increasingly large elderly population that is mentally incapable of taking care of them selves, based on my family history the only thing I have going for me is that the men die ahead of the women but if I do live long enough I get to look forward to Alzheimer's, but i cant quite remember how long that is.

Re:Meanwhile (1, Insightful)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777864)

How many of those deaths are preventable by proper diet and exercise?

Now how many brain tumors are preventable with proper diet and exercise?

Re:Meanwhile (1)

melling (42047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779326)

It's great that you make bold statements like this. However, my inclination is to disbelieve you unless you provide some verifiable facts.

Re:Meanwhile (1)

bhartman34 (886109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33783324)

Strictly speaking, it's coronary artery disease that's the problem, not heart disease, isn' t it?

We've been able to replace ailing hearts for some time now. Obviously, there are supply-side problems, but there are absolutely people working on that by using stem cells to generate new organs.

Write your own damn summaries... (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777578)

Here the summary is a verbatim copy of TFA.

This is not cool.

Re:Write your own damn summaries... (3, Funny)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777826)

Have you ever read the Slashdot summaries? I'm pretty sure most of them are just excerpts from the articles put through a few online translators.

a better article (4, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777598)

this text is better [wustl.edu] in that it explains that first, a hole is drilled in the scull, then MRI is used to image the brain and these images help to insert a probe that's similar to a pencil in shape into the tumor through the brain, so it looks like this will go through other brain tissue first, and then this device discharges what basically amounts to heat and cooks the tumor.

Re:a better article (4, Informative)

nbauman (624611) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777820)

It is a better article, mostly because it doesn't have the gushing enthusiasm of the Endgaget story (Technology nyphomaniac: Never met a technology I didn't immediately fall in love with.)

I used to write about medical lasers for a few years, and I learned one important lesson:

Don't believe it until they have a randomized, controlled trial that shows patients who get the laser treatment actually do better than the patients who don't. (It doesn't do any good to remove a tumor if the tumor comes back right away.) A lot of laser treatments didn't look too good after the controlled trials.

(It is true that there are some procedures that are so rare that they can't do a randomized controlled trial.)

This system looks like it might be useful in certain not-too-common situations where you can't reach the tumor with anything else. It's like, when you're working on a car, having an offset screwdriver that can reach a blind screw that's hard to reach any other way. It's FDA approved for brain surgery so it passed some kind of review.

There are other ways of doing it. Notice that WUSL also offers a gamma knife http://plexus.wustl.edu/surgery/neuro/website.nsf/WV/23077ADDD22341B28625729F00713CFC [wustl.edu] which focuses 201 radiation sources on a small spherical target. Brain surgeons are clever.

A lot of times, a $50 cautery can do just as good a job as a $100,000 laser.

This isn't rocket science.

The fundamental problem is, sadly, those cancers they mentioned are inevitably fatal, within 6 months to a few years. The main purpose of surgery is to make your last few years more comfortable, like when they remove a tumor that's near the optic nerve threatening to make you blind. There are some benign brain tumors that can be cured, though. "Benign" is a relative term when something's growing in your brain. You want to get it out.

Re:a better article (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777968)

It "isn't rocket science", but it "is like brain surgery". In fact, it is brain surgery. The two idioms, BTW, are nearly synonymous.

Re:a better article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33780372)

How do you do a control group for something like this? Take half the patients, jab a probe through their brain tissue, but don't use the laser, just leave it in a bit, then pull it out? Or just track people with the same tumors who are treated by other methods? I guess I'm asking is if there's an ethical way to _not_ treat people for a terminal illness?

Re:a better article (1)

BraksDad (963908) | more than 3 years ago | (#33781034)

...This isn't rocket science....

Nope, it is brain surgery.

...This system looks like it might be useful in certain not-too-common situations where you can't reach the tumor with anything else. It's like, when you're working on a car, having an offset screwdriver that can reach a blind screw that's hard to reach any other way.... sadly, those cancers they mentioned are inevitably fatal, within 6 months to a few years....

I am one of these "not-too-common situations".
Thanks for the write-up, but I am not sure I feel a lot better now.
I have had a biopsy so I already have an extra hole in my head. My tumor interfeers with the muscles of my right eye. My tumor is in my mid-brain. My lungs or heart will likely stop getting signals from my brain at some point. I will likely suffocate or drown despite not being in water or having any damage to my lungs or breathing muscles.
I must admit it is frustrating to see this kind of potential treatment stagger through clinical trials when people like me have little to nothing to lose. I have 3 young children so I actually have reason to try and prolong the inevitable.

Re:a better article (1)

nbauman (624611) | more than 3 years ago | (#33781174)

I must admit it is frustrating to see this kind of potential treatment stagger through clinical trials when people like me have little to nothing to lose. I have 3 young children so I actually have reason to try and prolong the inevitable.

Read the program description again. This device is FDA-approved. If it would benefit your condition, and you could afford it, you could go to WUSL for treatment. http://plexus.wustl.edu/surgery/neuro/website.nsf/WV/0800D693FDE25183862577A60063101C?OpenDocument [wustl.edu]

This would be appropriate for a tumor that can't be removed by any other method, and that can be removed by this device.

Re:a better article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33784756)

Thanks

Re:a better article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33777850)

That's pretty invasive. I was expecting them to be shooting rays of some sort from many directions all pointed at the tumor, such that no single ray is powerful enough to cook a cell, only in combination.

Re:a better article (2, Informative)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777912)

this text is better [wustl.edu] in that it explains that first, a hole is drilled in the scull, then MRI is used to image the brain and these images help to insert a probe that's similar to a pencil in shape into the tumor through the brain, so it looks like this will go through other brain tissue first, and then this device discharges what basically amounts to heat and cooks the tumor.

The same is already done in the clinic using an RF probe to induce localized heating. Gamma knives (see the plethora of other comments) do the same by concentrated radiation damage, although the MRI is done beforehand (and a CT ... I once asked a neurosurgeon I work with why use both, and he replied that neither method is as accurate as one might hope, so they combine techniques to reduce measurement errors).

Gamma Knife (0, Offtopic)

Garrett Fox (970174) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777614)

Cool. This sounds like a variant on the "Gamma Knife" technology I'd heard about years ago, where many beams of some sort (microwaves? x-rays?) are sent through the patients' head from different angles so as to deliver massive harm to one spot only.

Unfortunately, we're seeing an advance in health care just in time for it to be taken over.

Re:Gamma Knife (2, Informative)

icegreentea (974342) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777660)

This is nothing like the gamma knife, aside from that it uses radiation. They're using an MRI to guide a physical probe through the brain to the tumor where the probe then does a thermal discharge. So instead of shooting intersecting deathrays (very cool stuff by the way), they're sending a guided killbot that gets right up close.

Re:Gamma Knife (2, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#33777740)

This is nothing like the gamma knife, aside from that it uses radiation. They're using an MRI to guide a physical probe through the brain to the tumor where the probe then does a thermal discharge. So instead of shooting intersecting deathrays (very cool stuff by the way), they're sending a guided killbot that gets right up close.

Actually it does have a lot of similarities - they use MRI imaging to figure out which parts of the brain to fry, then use a fairly localized beam of Something Evil (gamma rays in the Gamma Knife, light energy in this device) to toast the 'bad' tissue. So it's really just another techy way of doing the same thing - minimally invasive surgery and will likely have the same efficacy (excellent to poor depending on the type of tumor) and cost shitloads of money.

Watch to see the hype (ooh! lasers!) run right past the research showing that it works just as well as extant technology and costs more.

/grouchy cynical mode OFF temporarily

Re:Gamma Knife (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33777684)

As the name implies, it would have to be gamma rays or roentgen rays or other kinds of hard radiation. Water absorbs microwaves and most other EM radiation of other wavelength too well.

But this doesn't seem to be something like that, the MRI is just used to guide a small device, see what roman_mir wrote [slashdot.org].

Re:Gamma Knife (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33788330)

I'd agree that the Gamma Knife and it's cousins have a similar intent, this has significant differences. While they take a number of shots to spread out the collateral damage in getting to the target a lot of surrounding tissue is irradiated and can cause tissue to become necrotic years later. This uses a threaded fiber that reduces the colateral damage further. It's likely that this is as big a step over The Gamma Knife as the Gamma Knofe was over whole brain radiation.

So, let me get this straight (0, Troll)

EmagGeek (574360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778044)

We want to eradicate cancer, so what we do is fight it on a case by case basis, where we prolong the lives of those genetically predisposed to cancer and allow them to propagate that weak DNA down generations.

Seems to me the way to eradicate cancer is to allow natural selection to run its course and remove faulty DNA from the gene pool. It's too bad we're all too individually selfish to think of the greater implications of that selfishness.

Re:So, let me get this straight (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33778266)

The majority of people who get cancer are already 40+, past the age where they would be having new children. Unless you plan to kill the children of people who get cancer, keeping treatment from the patients will make any difference.

Re:So, let me get this straight (4, Insightful)

Czech Blue Bear (1897556) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778302)

Sir, your opinion is both ugly and wrong.

Cancer is not a simple disease caused by a damage of a single gene. There are too many genes that can, under "proper" circumstances, cause or promote cancer. In most cases, this is not a type of one genetic damage but a complex structure of various events, some of them external. Even with the hardest eugenics, you won't be able to eradicate, or even limit, this type of disease; in fact, you will probably end with the contrary. The risk of malignant growth is too intertwined with the very basical functioning of cells themselves; there is always a need for creation of new cells, and always there is a risk of a runaway loop.

Secondly, if a young person is diagnosed with a type of cancer that is known to be hereditary, he or she is informed by the doctor and probably will decide either not to try having his/her own children, or take special care to minimize the risks.

Re:So, let me get this straight (1)

idealego (32141) | more than 3 years ago | (#33778362)

That mentality is a slippery slope. Do you believe in sterilization of mentally challenged people? How about sterilization of dumb people, which I might add was still done in North America up until the 70s? How about government efforts to promote the dissemination of DNA in those individuals deemed "stronger"? Take these ideas further and you end up with the Holocaust.

Re:So, let me get this straight (2, Interesting)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33779768)

Seems to me the way to eradicate cancer is to allow natural selection to run its course and remove faulty DNA from the gene pool.

Actually, can we start with eradicating insensitive people with faulty DNA that clearly leaves them bereft of any concern for those who are either suffering from cancer at this moment or have lost people dear to them due to cancer?

Vitamin D deficiency, toxins, junk food, memetics (2, Insightful)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33780094)

There is no doubt a genetic component to cancer but you can't jump from there to the kind of social processes you are implyimg without considering a lot of issues (including how our genes related to compassion towards each other may let us survive as a collective when individually we would all die).

As an example of that, here are two links to two compassionate people, Dr John Cannell and Dr. Joel Fuhrman, with advice that, used together, may prevent most cancers and even treat a few (by boosting the body's own immune system):
    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/treatment.shtml [vitamindcouncil.org]
    http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/cat-cancer.html [diseaseproof.com]
Should we honor these two people for those contributions to humanity (including treating any early genetic diseases they might get) or should we just say, "tough luck, bad genes" if they do get sick somehow and let them die right outside of hospitals?
    "Andy Bales- SiCKO: What Has Happened to Health Care?"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aC7zI7VXcCA [youtube.com]

Besides, you've seen the movie "Gattaca", right? How long before people are designing their DNA? I'm not saying they will do a good job for it, though, and there may be other social and personal consequences too, like shown in that movie. :-( What nature tends to prize is disease resistance and hardiness more than almost anything else, although many people might opt for optimizing some things with unknown consequences. I'm just saying that idea of geen manipulation shows another problematical assumption you are making that the only way genetic material will get passed on is the old-fashioned way.

Memetic/cultural evolution is also happening at the level of "memes", as we see here on slashdot all the time, and quite rapidly, much faster than genetic evolution. But ask yourself, which of the memes you carry around in your head (including the one you just propagated) are more beneficial to your body as well as the communities that body is part of, and which are more parasitic or cancerous? And what does it take to have a healthy mental immune system?

Linda (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33779194)

Good luck in their discoveries. In other matters for any research always needs money! But many use the services of short-term lending such as payday loans online [paydayloanunion.com].

No time like the present (1)

BraksDad (963908) | more than 3 years ago | (#33780846)

...but if we know anything about anything related to lasers, it'll be everywhere in no time flat....

Good because I am already 29 months into a 12 month prognosis. My need was in 2008 like many others.

more standard treatment is .. (1)

Big Jojo (50231) | more than 3 years ago | (#33781846)

Operate (cut open skull) and remove (most of) the tumor.
  • This being the brain, one must be very careful to minimize removing grey cells that are in use for non-tumor purposes.
  • This being cancer, one can't generally get 100% of the tumor; it's not a neat growth, it has fingers that go elsewhere.

So what's left after surgery (and I'll guess, even with this laser thing) is a smaller tumor, which gets killed through radiation therapy (first/mostly) and also by chemotherapy. With brain tumors, the chemotherapy can sometimes be pill-based, which is good ... many of the chemo horror stories you may have heard relate to intraveneous drug administration. Nausea, vomiting, and so on are part of the picture to greater or lesser degrees. Less so with the pills. It's not clear to me from the article(s) whether this laser treatment affects the radiation + chemo part of therapy very much, like by shortening or eliminating it. See for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glioblastoma [wikipedia.org] ... about one of the most common types of brain tumor. (What Ted Kennedy and George Gershwin died of, for example.

I doubt it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33784542)

The problem with these experimental treatments is that they start out with a lot of hype but never go anywhere due to flaws or cost. I don't see this coming to my nearby hospital any time soon.

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  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
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