Real-time tissue analysis could guide brain tumor surgery

The intraoperative mass spectrometry platform for image-guided surgery in the Advanced Mutimodality Image Guided Operating (AMIGO) suite at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School as part of the National Center for Image Guided Therapy. Part of the team from left to right: Dr. David Calligaris, Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Sandro Santagata, Neuropathologist, Dr. Alexandra Golby, Neurosurgeon, and Isaiah Norton, Senior Programmer Analyst.

It doesn’t get much more complicated than brain surgery. Surgeons tasked with removing brain tumors have limited information available to help them make decisions about what tissue appears cancerous and how much to excise without damaging brain regions important to key functions such as movement and speech. But decisions about how much to cut might become easier in the near future: A study published today offers a possible way to discern which brain tissue is cancerous and guide surgeons in real time. The research, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses a technique formerly confined to analytical chemistry labs, called mass spectrometry, to make this determination right in the operating room.  Read more

Drug target suggested for MERS as case count rises

Cluster of vesicles made by virus from usurped and reshaped membranes.

Since its appearance in Saudi Arabia in 2012, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) has spread to fifteen countries, including the US, where two cases were confirmed in the past month. Worryingly, about 30% of confirmed cases have been fatal, and the lack specific antiviral drugs for the MERS-coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which causes the illness, poses a threat to public health.  Read more