CSU, Synaptive Medical collaborate to improve brain tumor detection

Thursday May 25, 2017 0 comments Tags: Fort Collins, CSU Flint Animal Cancer Center, Dr. Rebecca Packer, Cameron Piron, Synaptive Medical

FORT COLLINS -- Colorado State University’s Flint Animal Cancer Center and Toronto-based Synaptive Medical Inc. are collaborating to develop an intraoperative imaging and sensing technology to more accurately detect and treat brain tumors.CSU_Animal_Cancer_logoUSE

Dr. Rebecca Packer, an associate professor of neurology and neurosurgery at CSU, is the first neurosurgeon in the world to use Synaptive’s Raman spectroscopy research system to explore clinical biomarkers that can assist in surgical resection of tumors.

The system also improves the preservation of normal brain tissue.

Packer's research focuses on developing novel therapies for brain tumors while advancing precision medicine and innovation for humans and veterinary patients.

Her ultimate goal is to develop accurate and less invasive neurosurgical techniques and therapies to treat brain tumors, in part by improving intraoperative imaging to more accurately detect and resect tumors during surgery. Intraoperative means occurring or performed during surgery.synaptive-logo

CSU's veterinarians, clinicians and staff said they are firm believers in the One Health Initiative approach to cancer research, in which veterinary and human medicine share a common goal, also known as comparative oncology.

“There are many similarities between canine and human brain tumors," said Packer. "As such, knowledge gained from clinical trials in our veterinary brain tumor patients may also help advance therapies for humans.”

Synaptive Medical said it is undertaking collaborative efforts to interconnect and optimize the secure flow of imaging and non-imaging data while integrating it into existing surgical technologies.

“Novel sensing technologies would support a surgeon when she is performing a procedure and when rapid clinical decisions need to be made,” said Cameron Piron, Synaptive’s president and co-founder.

“The Flint Animal Cancer Center is among the best in the world for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer in pet animals, and this is a natural collaboration for us to advance both veterinary and human neurosurgery.”

The incidence of a recurrent brain tumor in humans remains high, and researchers believe it could be minimized with greater levels of resection.

Some brain tumors are so visually like normal brain tissue that differentiation is challenging, particularly when removing adjacent healthy tissue could compromise brain function.

“Surgeons tell us they would rather leave a residual tumor because the risk of neurological deficit outweighs the benefit,” said Piron. “Improving the accuracy of surgical intervention is critical.”

Through a donation from the Eldred Foundation, the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is the first to acquire Synaptive’s research system. Raman spectroscopy is a rapid and powerful imaging technique that has been extensively used in other scientific disciplines to understand the chemical composition of tissue.

Currently, no hand-held system can rapidly detect tumor tissue. CSU said its initial research goal is to confirm the specific spectral “fingerprint” of the various brain tumor types and match that fingerprint with the microscopic appearance of the tumor and surrounding normal tissue.

“We expect that, ultimately, this technology will make the surgical resection of brain tumors safer and more accurate, but given the advancements in tumor vaccines and immunotherapies, it is reasonable to speculate that one day a device might even allow us to obtain a diagnosis and determine optimal patient-specific treatments without the need for invasive surgery,” said Packer.

Synaptive Medical said its current surgical solution, BrightMatter™, supports a patient-centric, scalable model that is automated for surgical planning and intervention with visualization of a patient’s unique fiber tracts, state-of-the-art optics for workflow efficiencies and recent FDA-cleared health informatics.

“We aim to accelerate value-based care by providing more precise information to surgeons during surgical procedures, giving them more real-time information with which to make the best possible decisions for their patients,” said Piron.