Rapid diagnostic coupled with local therapy developed for brain tumors
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In the race to deliver therapeutics to treat brain cancer and prevent recurrence, the blood-brain barrier represents a tremendous hurdle. But brain surgery offers a way to circumvent the blood-brain barrier, allowing direct access to the site of a tumor. Working together, researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and neurosurgeons from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), along with colleagues at MIT, are designing a new, rapid molecular diagnostic and sustained release therapeutic that could be deployed during brain surgery to treat gliomas and prevent their return. Their results are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences.

“When a patient is in the operating room, there’s an ideal opportunity to deliver therapy,” said co-senior author Giovanni Traverso, MB, BChir, PhD, principal investigator and a physician-scientist at BWH. “But to provide the best possible therapy, we need to understand what genetic mutations we can target in that person’s tumor. We’re trying to develop a molecular diagnostic that can work fast enough to give us that information while the patient is on the operating table.”

“The first and perhaps most important step in treatment of brain tumors is the initial operation, or craniotomy, which obtains tissue

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