Laser-Induced Interstitial Thermotherapy
Our nationally renowned Rose Ella Burkhardt Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center was first in the world to test a new device known as AutoLITT™/NeuroBlate™ that uses a specially designed laser probe to heat and destroy brain tumors. Based largely on favorable results from this trial, the AutoLITT/NeuroBlate system earned Food and Drug Administration clearance for use in neurosurgery in May 2009.
In addition to piloting the testing of the AutoLITT/NeuroBlate device, Burkhardt Brain Tumor Center physicians wanted to ensure that patients receive the highest-quality imaging available during brain surgery. The center was among the first worldwide to integrate the AutoLITT/NeuroBlate system with the latest intraoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.
MRI scans produce detailed images of internal organs without the use of radiation. Our leading-edge MRI unit generates high-resolution images in real time in a neurosurgical operating room that incorporates the AutoLITT/NeuroBlate system. This innovation allows physicians to see and direct the progress of tumor destruction as it happens, thereby increasing the likelihood that tumors will be completely removed.
Destroying Cancer Cells with Laser-Fired Heat
Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) transmits heat to coagulate, or “cook,” brain tumors from the inside out. This technology is not new in cancer treatment, but early approaches posed challenges with limiting the laser energy only to tumors. With Monteris Medical Inc.’s AutoLITT/NeuroBlate system, the surgeon can “steer” and monitor the effects of the laser beam, thus sparing surrounding healthy tissue.
Unlike conventional open surgery, this therapy is minimally invasive. It takes place with the patient in an MRI machine because the laser system is guided, positioned and monitored with MRI.
How It Works
If AutoLITT/NeuroBlate is appropriate for you, here is what will happen during the procedure:
- You will be placed under general anesthesia. With great precision, a thin, high-intensity laser probe will be inserted through a small hole in your skull, deep into your brain. The tip of the probe emits laser energy sideways, heating and destroying brain tumor tissue in one direction while cooling to remove heat and protect normal tissue in neighboring areas.
- Each burst of laser energy lasts from 30 seconds to a few minutes. The laser generates heat up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, which is sufficient to coagulate and kill the tumor cells.
- On a computer screen, your surgeon will monitor the tumor destruction as it occurs. He or she can remotely plan and control the procedure, steering heat directly to tumor tissue. An advance known as MRI thermometry measures temperature in and around the tumor, providing valuable feedback to the surgeon throughout the procedure.
- After surgery, you will remain in the hospital for one or two days, which is typically half the time you would have been hospitalized after conventional surgery.
- Any type of brain surgery poses some risk. The primary risk with AutoLITT/NeuroBlate is some temporary swelling around the treated area, which usually is managed with medication.
Harnessing Talent and Technology for Patients’ Benefit
In the hands of the Burkhardt Brain Tumor Center’s skilled, experienced neurosurgeons, the AutoLITT/NeuroBlate system offers hope to brain tumor patients whose treatment options were limited. This thermal therapy:
- Is less invasive than even the most minimally invasive open operations
- Enhances patient safety
- Promotes quicker recovery
- Has the potential to help some patients whose tumors had been considered too risky to treat, whose tumors did not respond to alternate treatments or who had otherwise been deemed poor candidates for surgery
- Offers a therapeutic option when radiosurgery fails
- May allow for multiple treatments
- Is less costly than traditional surgery
The combination of AutoLITT/NeuroBlate with our intraoperative MRI capability streamlines the procedure within a single room. Conversely, at sites without this upgrade, the surgical portion is done in a conventional operating room and the patient must be transported to a diagnostic MRI suite. At Cleveland Clinic, the integration of technologies represents a significant advance in patient safety and reduced procedure time.
Learn more about this innovative treatment option for brain tumors now available at Cleveland Clinic
Patient Guide for AutoLITT/NeuroBlate Treatment
View a treatment guide for minimally invasive laser interstitial thermal therapy now available at Cleveland Clinic.
Patient Informational Video
AutoLITT/NeuroBlate – Offering new hope to patients with previously inoperable brain tumors.
For More Information
If you are interested in AutoLITT/NeuroBlate as a treatment option for you or someone you love, please contact us toll-free at 888.273.1409 to arrange a consultation with a Burkhardt Brain Tumor Center physician.
New cancer treatment for inoperable brain tumors, AutoLITT™/NeuroBlate™, as seen on ABC News
Physicians from the Burkhardt Brain Tumor Center at Cleveland Clinic were the first in the world to participate the AutoLITT/NeuroBlate human clinical trial that now offers patients a new approach for treating inoperable brain tumors. View the ABC News story