Advances in image-guided therapy enable physicians to obtain real-time information on neurological disorders such as brain tumors to improve resection accuracy. Image guidance data include the location, size, shape, type, and extent of tumors. Recent technological advances in neurophotonic engineering have enabled the development of techniques for minimally invasive neurosurgery. Incorporation of these methods in intraoperative imaging decreases surgical procedure time and allows neurosurgeons to find remaining or hidden tumor or epileptic lesions. This facilitates more complete resection and improved topology information for postsurgical therapy (i.e., radiation). We review the clinical application of recent advances in neurophotonic technologies including Raman spectroscopy, thermal imaging, optical coherence tomography, and fluorescence spectroscopy, highlighting the importance of these technologies in live intraoperative tissue mapping during neurosurgery. While these technologies need further validation in larger clinical trials, they show remarkable promise in their ability to help surgeons to better visualize the areas of abnormality and enable safe and successful removal of malignancies.
We have explored the capability of thermal imaging for the detection of brain tumors in a rat glioma mode. Fourteen Wistar rats were injected stereotactically with 100,000 C6 glioma cells. Approximately one and two weeks post implantation, the rats underwent bilateral craniotomy and the exposed brain surface was imaged with a short wave thermal camera. Thermal images were obtained at both low (approximately 28.7 degree(s)C) and high (approximately 38 degree(s)C) core temperatures. Temperature gradients between the tumor site and the contralateral normal brain were calculated. Overall, the tumors appeared cooler than normal brain, for both high and low core temperatures. Average temperature difference between tumor and normal brain were maximal in more advanced tumors (two weeks) and at higher core temperatures. At one week (N equals 6), the average temperature gradient between tumor and normal sites was 0.1 degree(s)C and 0.2 degree(s)C at low and high core temperatures respectively (P(greater than)0.05). At two weeks (N equals 8), the average temperature gradient was 0.3 degree(s)C and 0.7 degree(s)C at low and high core temperatures respectively (P<0.05). We conclude that thermal imaging can detect temperature differences between tumor and normal brain tissue in this model, particularly in more advanced tumors. Thermal imaging may provide a novel means to identify brain tumors intraoperatively.
Time-Resolved Laser-Induced Fluorescence Spectroscopy (TR-LIFS) has the potential to provide a non- invasive characterization and detection of tumors. We utilized TR-LIFS to detect gliomas in-vivo in the rat C6 glioma model. Time-resolved emission spectra of both normal brain and tumor were analyzed to determine if unique fluorescence signatures could be used to distinguish the two. Fluorescence parameters derived from both spectral and time domain were used for tissue characterization. Our results show that in the rat C6 glioma model, TR-LIFS can be used to differentiate brain tumors from normal tissue (gray and white mater) based upon time- resolved fluorescence signatures seen in brain tumors.