Monteris Medical out of Kalamazoo, Michigan has received FDA approval for the firm’s AutoLITT (Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy) system for destroying brain tumors from within.
Using a standard 1. 5T MRI scanner, the surgeon places the MRI compatible laser probe through a transcranial burr hole, directly at the location of the tumor. The laser is then used to laterally heat up and burn out tumor tissue while cooling the environment on the opposite side of the laser’s direction, thereby preventing surrounding tissue from being damaged.
More about the AutoLITT from Monteris:
The AutoLITT procedure is performed with the patient in a standard 1.5T MRI scanner. The treating physician visualizes and controls the treatment procedure in real-time.
The thin probe is inserted into the tumor through a small “burr hole” in the skull. The probe tip emits laser energy sideways (radially) to heat tissue in one direction while cooling to remove heat from all other directions. The unidirectional focus enables the physician to “steer” the heat to the tumor and avoid neighboring healthy tissue.
MRI signals measure temperature in and around the tumor, enabling the physician to “see” the tumor and the thermal damage as it happens. The real-time feedback information gives the physician the ability to precisely control the treatment.
Various positioning and monitoring devices enable the physician to precisely control the procedure remotely and without moving the patient in the MRI.
The combined technologies enable physicians to selectively treat the tumor tissue they want to kill while avoiding damage to other tissue.
Press release: Treating Untreatable Brain Tumors: FDA Approves New Laser Surgery (.DOC)
Product page: AutoLITT System
Below the fold you can watch a short animation demonstrating the use of the device: