Two BayCare Hospitals have a new tool to help fight brain tumors
A new liquid medication makes malignant brain tissue glow so neurosurgeons can better see it during surgery.
Patients drink the medication, Gleolan™, about three hours before anesthesia so the dangerous tumors will fluoresce when examined under special blue light from a surgical microscope. Malignant tissue glows pink, which helps neurosurgeons distinguish the cancer from regular tissue improving the safety, accuracy, and extent of tumor removal.
Neurosurgeons at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater recently completed their first cases with Gleolan™, and neurosurgeons at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa also have it available.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Gleolan™ for use in patients with malignant gliomas, a form of brain cancer. A glioma is a type of tumor that originates in the glial cells that surround neurons in the brain and help them function.
“Gliomas can be difficult to treat because they are diffuse, infiltrating tumors. That is, they grow within and through normal brain tissue, and their borders can be difficult to distinguish,” said Neurosurgeon Devon Haydon, MD. “Our goal is to remove as much of the tumor as possible without harming normal areas of brain that control critical body functions like speech or movement.”
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a type of glioma, is the most common adult primary malignant brain tumor. Ninety percent of adult GBM patients die within 24 months after diagnosis. Numerous studies indicate that increased extent of tumor removal at the time of surgery improves survival for patients with high grade gliomas.
“We are excited to be using Gleolan™ for our patients with high grade gliomas,” said Dr. Haydon. “We are always eager to use new technology that has the potential to give our patients longer and more fulfilling lives.”