The latest diagnostic imaging techniques are allowing doctors to perform complicated brain surgery more accurately than ever before.
In the past, even the most skilled surgeon struggled to remove the entire tumour without damaging adjacent healthy tissue, but new nanoparticle imaging shows the boundaries between normal and cancerous tissue more clearly than is currently possible.
Scientists at Stanford University used MRI scans and microscopic gold balls specially coated with chemicals which are sensitive enough to allow the surgeon to see any residual material – even during the procedure.
"This type of multimodal approach to tumour imaging has great potential and means these techniques could help to make brain surgery more precise," said Cancer Research UK scientist Dr Nicola Sibson.
According to the charity, brain and central nervous system tumours account for two per cent of the total cancer cases in the UK.