November 27, 2015 – Avoiding Surgery


Anchor lead:  Can a new technique reduce the need for repeat brain tumor surgeries? Elizabeth Tracey reports.

It’s a good bet most people would rather not have brain surgery, yet when a tumor is detected there is often little choice.  But what about additional surgeries, which may be needed to monitor suspicious areas for tumor recurrence? A new technique developed at Johns Hopkins that examines DNA found in CSF, the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, may help.  Jon Weingart, a neurosurgeon and part of the research team, says such a test would be most welcome.

Weingart: For brain tumors in particular there are changes that occur with the treatment, and it is often very difficult to assess whether than represents tumor, or treatment effect, and sometimes people have surgery just to figure that out, and brain surgery is a big experience to go through, and if you could avoid that then that would be a positive thing.   :24

Weingart says the majority of brain tumors were detected in a study using this technique, and he’s hopeful about its clinical utility. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.