Malignant gliomas are a devastating brain tumor disease with very poor prognosis. Stereo-tactic biopsy sampling is routinely used in larger neurosurgical centers to confirm the diagnosis of a suspected brain tumor. This procedure is associated with risk of blood vessel rupture as well as false-negative results. Recent investigations suggest a potential of light-based techniques to improve both therapy and diagnosis of GBM.
Optical guidance can be utilized to improve the biopsy sampling procedure in terms of safety, reliability, and efficacy. Recording of optical signals (transmission, remission, fluorescence) can be potentially integrated into a biopsy needle for providing optical detection of tumor tissue and blood vessel recognition during the biopsy sampling.
Optical signals can also be used for monitoring purposes during photodynamic therapy. Here, fluorescence signals recorded before the treatment indicate the presence and accumulation level of photosensitizer, while photobleaching of the photosensitizer fluorescence during the treatment can be used as a measure of the effectiveness of the therapy. Finally, transmitted light can reveal problematic tissue-optical conditions as well as changes of the optical properties of the treated tissue, which may be relevant with regard to treatment prognosis and strategy. Different optical concepts for interstitial PDT monitoring and optical tissue property assessment are presented.
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