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New Approach to Detect Brain Tumor’s Treatment Response

A certain kind of MRI scanning can now identify if brain tumors respond to treatment even before the onset of symptoms, according to a pilot study. Participated by researchers at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and Montreal Neurological Institute, the study was conducted among patients with recurring malignant tumors who were undergoing chemotherapy.

Researchers used an imaging device called MR spectroscopy to scan the patients and identify metabolic changes, which could likewise determine if the tumor was responding well to the treatment. They noted that through this proactive treatment approach, doctors would be able to assess whether altering treatment is necessary.

“Frequent use of this Type of imaging may be a useful tool to follow a patient’s response to chemotherapy for malignant brain tumors,” said Dr. Mark C. Preul, Newsome Chair of Neurosurgery Research at St. Joseph’s. “It gives us the ability to identify treatment failure early and more time to alter a patient’s treatment plan before the disease progresses.”

According to the researchers, this non-invasive and radiation hazard-free approach can deliver timely results. “The study has shown for the first time that metabolic response to brain tumor treatment can be detected earlier and faster by metabolic imaging instead of through structural imaging or assessment of the neurological status of a patient,” noted Dr. Preul.

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