Wednesday, 14 Nov 2018

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Glowing chemical 'could aid brain cancer surgery'

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Health Desk: 5th Nov’18: A chemical that makes brain tumours glow pink could help surgeons to remove the cancer safely, a trial suggests.

Scientists gave people with suspected glioma a drink containing 5-ALA, a substance known to accumulate in fast-growing cancer cells.

The pink glow the chemical causes was found in people with the most aggressive cancers.

Researchers hope it will make it easier for surgeons to distinguish between cancer cells and healthy brain tissue.

Treatment for glioma, the most common form of brain cancer and the one that killed ex-Labour cabinet minister Dame Tessa Jowell, usually involves surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible, and the prognosis for patients is often poor.

For this new trial, 99 patients with suspected high-grade (fast-growing) gliomas were given a drink containing 5-ALA before surgery.

Study author Dr Kathreena Kurian, associate professor in brain tumour research at the University of Bristol, said: "There's an urgent need to have something while the patient is on the table, while the neurosurgeon is operating, which will guide them to find the worst bits.

Courtesy: BBC Health