Sylvester Cancer Center doctor unveils new method that uses AI to help treat brain tumors

MIAMI (WSVN) - Some South Florida doctors are part of a newly published study that introduces cutting-edge technology that could be a big breakthrough in detecting and treating brain tumors.

Dr. Michael Ivan, a neurosurgeon and scientist with the University of Miami’s Sylvester Cancer Center, said a new method described in the study, published Monday, will allow surgeons to make quick and accurate decisions involving brain tumors from right inside the operating room.

“This is really the first time that we’ve brought artificial intelligence into the operating room, so it’s a very exciting study,” he said during a news conference.

The study, a collaboration between doctors with Sylvester Cancer Center, New York University and the University of Michigan, offers a more precise way in diagnosing brain tumors during surgery.

“It provides us with a faster diagnosis, as well as a more accurate diagnosis, so we could make decisions during the surgery sooner,” said Ivan.

Through the use of artificial intelligence, the new imaging technique reveals tumor infiltration in human tissue by collecting scattered laser light that illuminates essential features not typically seen.

“Now, with this new technique, we can get that answer in just a few minutes, almost instantaneously,” said Ivan, “and with artificial intelligence, we’ve been able to get the results with almost 95% accuracy.”

By providing results within minutes, the method gives neurosurgeons more precision in completely removing cancerous brain tumors. It also helps inform the surgeon with more rapid and frequent information, ensuring the area of interest is completely cancer free.

“In the few patients where we’re really uncertain what we’re going to be doing, then it has a major impact, either preventing further surgery that’s unnecessary or guiding us to the right location,” said Ivan.

The traditional methods usually require 20 to 30 minutes to yield results. With the breakthrough procedure, doctors will be able to make critical decisions during safe and effective brain tumor surgery in considerably less time.

“It will shorten the time of surgery and make the surgery even more safe for our patients,” said Ivan.

Even though the technique is still in its trial phase, the game-changing technology is an exciting step forward in the management of brain tumors.

“The artificial intelligence software needs to go through a full [Food and Drug Administration] approval, and this is the first step to take that process through to get final approval,” said Ivan. “We all think, the doctors here, that this is going to have a major impact to help the community around here in South Florida.”

The study also suggests the technology can be used in other medical settings that depend on the expert analysis of tumor samples obtained during surgery.

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