University of Sussex Media Release.
. Scientists develop diagnostic tool for brain tumours

14 February 2000
For immediate release

Discovering that you may have a brain tumour is possibly the worst news anyone could be told. What usually follows is a biopsy to establish whether the tumour is malignant or not.

The problem here is that such invasive surgery is highly unpleasant for the patient and may not give the right answer.

Now a team of scientists has successfully bid for a European Union grant of Euro 2.2 million (£1.35m) to fund a project that will develop methods to identify different types of tumour without the need for surgery.

Dr Rosemary Tate, a visiting fellow in the School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences at the University of Sussex, is the scientific manager for the project, which also involves scientists at St George’s Hospital Medical School in London as well as teams in Spain, the Netherlands, France and Germany.

The work focuses on developing a method using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS), which measures the chemical content of the tumour and provides information on the type of tumour and degree of malignancy. Magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) scans, which are currently in use, cannot alone provide these answers.

A prototype software package was developed by Sussex MSc graduate Joshua Underwood, who is also now involved in the work to develop a more extensive version. Also taking part in the project are Dr Des Watson and Dr Rosemary Luckin.

Dr Tate said: "This test will add an extra dimension to identifying and treating brain tumours and could be an add-on to existing MRI units in hospitals. This will reduce the need for invasive brain biopsy and provide a valuable aid for planning treatment and therapy."






Notes for editors

For further information please contact Dr Rosemary Tate, tel. 01273 678062, email or Information Office, tel. 01273 678888, fax 01273 877456, email

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