Friday, September 25, 2009
Medical Reports: Cooking Brain Tumors
Senator Ted Kennedy was recently one of the thousands of people who die from cancerous brain tumors every year. Without surgery, there's little hope, but now doctors have found a way to get rid of brain cancer by cooking the tumors away. Seven's Diana Diaz has the story.
WSVN -- Senator Ted Kennedy, George Harrison of the Beatles and film critic Gene Siskel all died from brain cancer, Donald Thompson is surviving it.
Donald Thompson: "The type of tumor I had was very aggressive. When they told me it was malignant, it was even worse."
For the first time neurosurgeon Gene Barnett used a laser to cook and kill Donald's tumor.
Dr. Gene Barnett: "This is the probe and at the tip here, this is actually made of sapphire. The laser probe shoots out the side and heats the tissue next to it."
The MRI guided laser helps surgeons see as he steers through the brain.
Dr. Gene Barnett: "We can reach areas that are very difficult if not impossible to safely reach with conventional surgery."
The laser heats the tumor, killing it from the inside out. There is a risk of swelling around the tumor but it can be controlled with medication.
Dr. Gene Barnett: "This is much less invasive then even our most minimally invasive open operations."
Donald was looking at a death sentence, but now there is hope for the future.
Donald Thompson: "The last time I looked at the MRI that sucker was deader than a hammer."
Diana Diaz: "Other new therapies for malignant brain tumors include vaccines and targeted drug therapies based on a tumor's genetic makeup."
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