Noninvasive brain tumor biopsy on the horizon
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IMAGE: A team of engineers and physicians at Washington University in St. Louis have developed a technique that may allow physicians to retrieve biomarkers from a brain tumor through a simple… view more 

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Credit: Washington University in St. Louis

Taking a biopsy of a brain tumor is a complicated and invasive surgical process, but a team of researchers at Washington University in St. Louis is developing a way that allows them to detect tumor biomarkers through a simple blood test.

Hong Chen, a biomedical engineer, and Eric C. Leuthardt, MD, a neurosurgeon, led a team of engineers, physicians and researchers who have developed a groundbreaking, proof-of-concept technique that allows biomarkers from a brain tumor to pass through the tough blood-brain barrier into a patient’s blood using noninvasive focused ultrasound and some tiny bubbles, potentially eliminating the need for a surgical biopsy.

Chen, assistant professor of biomedical engineering in the School of Engineering & Applied Science and of radiation oncology in the School of Medicine, said while researchers have already learned how to get a drug through the blood-brain barrier into the brain via the bloodstream, no one — until now — has found a way to release tumor-specific biomarkers — in this case, messenger

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