A new Raman laser scanner could help surgeons more effectively remove cancerous brain tumors. A team from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center is developing the new handheld device, which could be used to root out malignant cells during surgery so that fewer or none are left behind to form new tumors. Conventional methods are not accurate enough to identify all of the cancerous cells that need to be excised. In a study, the researchers evaluated the ability of the Raman scanner — guided by surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) nanoparticles injected earlier into the mice — to identify the microscopic tumor extent in a genetically engineered RCAS/tv-a glioblastoma mouse model. A new handheld Raman scanning device has the potential to completely remove all traces of brain tumors. Courtesy of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center/ACS Publications. The handheld scanner was tested alongside a stationary Raman imaging device. The two complemented each other, the researchers said, although the new scanner allowed nearly real-time scanning and detected additional microscopic foci of cancer not detected by the stationary imager. This device has potential to move readily into clinical trials, the researchers said, and surgeons might be able to use it in the future to treat other types of brain cancer. The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The research was published in ACS Nano (doi: 10.1021/nn503948b). For more information, visit www.mskcc.org.