This doesn't mention melanoma in the brain, but glioma is perhaps a greater concern in the realm of brain cancers. I would bet that the device could identify several kinds of cancers if the developers wanted it to. Here's the link. Here's a copy and paste of the article:
THE BRAINNew Handheld Probe Detects Cancer Invaders in the BrainFebruary 13, 2015 | by Janet Fang
photo credit: 3D rendering of the brain. The cancer detectable with MRI is in red and yellow. Bright points indicate cancer detected using Raman spectroscopy. Actual cancer cells are depicted in the pop out / Polytechnique Montreal and Montreal Neurological InstituteShare on facebook11.2K Share on twitter62 Share on reddit Share on google_plusone_share More Sharing Services
Some cancers appear indistinguishable from healthy tissue, raising the risk of recurrence and metastasis. Now, researchers in Canada have developed a handheld fiber optic probe that they say can detect invasive brain cancer in patients accurately. The device, describedin Science Translational Medicine this week, could one day quickly guide neurosurgeons during procedures to remove cancerous tissue from the brain.
Glioma is a type tumor that forms from the glial cells that surround and support nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Diffusely invasive gliomas are aggressive and can infiltrate healthy tissue extensively. “Often it is impossible to visually distinguish cancer from normal brain, so invasive brain cancer cells frequently remain after surgery, leading to cancer recurrence and a worse prognosis,” McGill University’s Kevin Petrecca says in a news release. “Surgically minimizing the number of cancer cells improves patient outcomes.”
So, Petrecca and colleagues developed a probe based on Raman spectroscopy, a technique utilizing lasers to measure the way molecules in an object scatter light, producing a spectrum that’s unique to that object. “The emitted light provides a spectroscopic signal that can be interpreted to provide specific information about the molecular makeup of the interrogated tissue,” says study author Frederic Leblond of Polytechnique Montréal. Once in contact with the brain, the probe illuminates a small spot about a millimeter deep into the tissue and provides real-time Raman spectra of that area.
The team tested their probe (pictured to the right) with 17 neurosurgical patients who have advanced gliomas. In addition to dense tumor masses, the device was able to detect individual cancer cells that have invaded the surrounding tissue with 92 percent accuracy.
In the 3D rendering above, the red and yellow areas indicate cancer that was detected using an MRI. The bright points—cancers detected using Raman spectroscopy—are well beyond what’s detectable using MRI. The Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital will be launching a clinical trial for patients with newly diagnosed and recurrent glioblastoma.
Images: Laboratory for Radiological Optics/Polytechnique Montreal and Montreal Neurological Institute (top), McGill University (middle)
Today is two years since I had the CT scan that made the ER doc uncomfortable. As I look at the blog, I notice that the last time I posted here was one year ago. So, I'm going to discontinue posting to this blog. But I've started a new blog (http://www.kevinelmore.com/news-and-not-news-blog.html) that I'll try to keep up on. Thanks again for all the help. :D :D :D
One year later, I still get to post on this blog. I haven't forgotten to send thank-you cards out. I can't say I have an excuse, either, but please know that I am very grateful. I will get on those soon. ;)
Thanks to everyone for the support this past year. The fact that I get to celebrate Christmas is the best Christmas present ever. Thanks!!!! And, in keeping with the "tumor humor"/mildy irreverent things, here's Mr. Bean re-enacting the nativity scene:
At about 5:30pm I got a call from the oncologist. He said that based on the new images, he is confident in saying that what he saw earlier is not any new tumor growth. So that finishes it all up! I'm done with treatments!!! In searching for a celebratory thing to post alongside the announcement, I found that in the Philippines, there's something called a "Pyromusical" competition.....I must investigate this further!
I really want to express my thanks for all of the support from so far and wide...I've been told that there was a mass dedicated to me in Branson, MO, that my name was put on the Western Wall in Jerusalem, TWO(!) independent musician instigated fundraisers, visitors, assistance with lawnmowing and other yard work, and the truly humbling amount of support of family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, people I've met only once, and people I've never even met at all wishing me well. I am glad to say that it worked wonders for me and I am greatly appreciative.
The future looks good. There is still the close monitoring: I'll have another MRI in about 3 months to see if anything else has started. I guess (and this is my medical opinion as a musician) that I'll have another three months after that and if those are good, than another six months after that. We'll see. This time, I am most happy to wait three months before having another MRI done. It feels good to know that barring any sudden weird stuff, I don't have to worry about the availability of those three months of living!
Here's my cello piece entitled "Happy Dance" as played by Arnold Friedman!
(The artwork below was done by Kathleen Elmore!)
I went to the follow up of the follow up MRI today. I lived through it! YAY! It apparently had a wider area of radio frequency spread than the previous ones, so I guess it was a little riskier, but everything was fine. I was told that in other even larger facilities, this is a standard practice, but that they were just beginning to do this at OHSU. I'm expecting results by Tuesday, if not before. Fingers crossed again!
I got a call from the doctor this evening. He said that the results of the MRI are mixed and even contradictory. Some of the images showed that everything was just fine while others showed an increase in size that typically indicates a recurrence of tumor. He conferred with my neurosurgeon and she saw no reason to go back in, which is where I'm deriving some relief from the news. (However, the recovery from the surgery was cupcakes compared to recovering from the radiation.) Apparently part of the apparatus that makes it possible for a pacemaker person to have an MRI makes the images a little less clear than your usual MRI.
So the plan is that there are two other kinds of MRI things that can be done. The doc had already checked with the MRI folks about doing these with a pacemaker and they said it's a go. So, and this is my own personal estimation, I expect that I'll be going back for another MRI next week. Hopefully later this week, but there are several doctors that have to say it's ok - cardiologist, for example - before it's ok. My poor cardiologist has to ok each MRI. I hope I'm not just turning him into a signature factory..... hehehe!
Below is the song I was listening to (here's where I was hearing it) and then he starts talking about an epidemic disease that now has a vaccine. While a cancer vaccine is pretty much out of the question due to the widely various types of cancer, hopefully some sort of cure is either around the corner or is happening and just under serious scrutiny before going public. Here's hopin'!
So, my next (and hopefully last) MRI is Thursday. I'm hoping for the all-clear for several reasons. Number one, obviously, being that I have survived. I'd like to get back to doing stuff - not that I haven't been busy enough, but it makes me really tired really fast still. In fact, on Friday I had a dizzy spell and with the recent history, I immediately got taken to the ER to make sure. CT scan showed nothing (besides the leftover junk from the radiation that is being checked again on Thursday) , EKG was normal, etc. So they gave me a Percocet and an advil and told me to go home and take is easy. I did and slept about 10 or 11 hours and woke up with a head cold. It appears that what was making me dizzy was that I was so congested that there was pressure affecting my balance. I relieved the pressure the next morning, but it took a lot of tissue to do it. So, if you've heard that I ran out to the ER and you're not sure why, there it is. Anyway, I am guessing that it will be a week or so until I get the final word from the doc regarding the results of the MRI.
And for the off-beat and hopefully interesting random bit that I like to add to my posts, here's an old article from the Oregonian that I still would like to follow up on. Maybe the Portlanders reading this will enjoy some of these things. It's a list of 10 ensembles/groups that do strange and cool art things in Portland.
It's me, Kevin, but with a brain tumor. Disclaimer: I have a very dry and twisted sense of humor. This is a scary situation. The jokes ("tumor humor") could be a little dark from time to time. I intend to keep this rather interesting for you, but if I get a "how could you SAY that?!?" response from you, know it's just, well, I hesitate to use "gallows" humor, but I don't have better phrase for it. Enjoy, and thanks for your support through this time.