For this study, which included validation on samples and use during two patients' surgical procedures, the tool was tuned to identify the lipid metabolite 2-hydroxyglutarate or 2-HG. This biomarker is associated with more than 70 percent of gliomas and can be used to classify the tumors, he said.
A paper detailing the results of the National Institutes of Health-funded study will be published in an upcoming issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and is published online.
In mass spectrometry molecules are electrically charged and turned into ions so that they can be identified by their mass. The new tool relies an ambient mass spectrometry analysis technique developed by Cooks and his colleagues called desorption electrospray ionization, or DESI, which eliminated the need for chemical manipulations of samples and containment in a vacuum chamber for ionization. DESI allows ionization to occur directly on surfaces outside of the mass spectrometers, making the process much simpler, faster and more applicable to surgical settings.
The tool couples a DESI mass spectrometer with a software program designed by the research team that uses the results to characterize the brain tumors and detect boundaries between healthy and cancerous tissue. The program is based on earlier studies of lipid patterns that correspond to different types and grades of cancer and currently covers the two most common types of brain tumors, gliomas and meningiomas. These two types of tumors combined account for about 65 percent of all brain tumors and 80 percent of all malignant brai
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