National brain tumour research funding needs to increase to £35 million a year
‘Bionic eye’ technology to make brain surgery safer
Neurosurgery could be transformed with the use of AI technology with is currently being developed by the Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence at Imperial College London in collaboration with the team at the Hamlyn Centre, one of the Institute of Global Health Innovation’s research centres, Imperial College London.
The team is developing a ‘bionic eye’ which would use highly advanced imaging technology to determine the boundary between healthy and diseased brain tissue, enabling them to remove as much tumour tissue as possible, whilst protecting vital brain tissue.
Surgeons face a significant challenge in removing glioma, for example glioblastoma (GBM) because these tumours are diffuse, meaning the cancer infiltrates healthy brain tissue and has no visible boundary.
The new technology will rely on a comprehensive database of images, and work to build this is already underway. The next step will be to train an algorithm to distinguish between tumour and brain tissue, as well as identify areas of the brain which are highly functional such as speech. Together, these will go on to guide the development of a ‘bionic eye’ device to be installed in the surgical microscope for use during surgery to enable neurosurgeons to differentiate diseased tissue and healthy tissue.
Dr Karen Noble, our Director of Research, Policy and Innovation, said: “This exciting project is at the cutting edge of surgical research, and we congratulate the team at Imperial on their progress so far.
“Not only will this innovative technology allow surgeons to be more precise in removing diseased tissue versus healthy tissue, it also means they can identify and avoid areas of the brain which are crucial to vital functions such as speech and mobility, and be more proactive in removing tissue around the tumour without causing permanent damage.
“We look forward to being able to share further updates with our community as the work progresses.”
Read more about this exciting research update on our blog: www.braintumourresearch.org/media/our-blog/blog-item/our-blog/2023/07/17/neurosurgeons-bionic-eye-to-assist-in-brain-surgery
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