When it comes to cancer & surgery, the 3 most beautiful words you want to hear are not “I LOVE YOU” but instead, “WE DID IT” or “GOT IT ALL“.
There are currently several hospitals in the US exploring the novel use of an existing compound called 5-ALA in hopes of ensuring complete resection or removal of malignant gliomas, a very aggressive type of brain cancer.
The number of people in the US with malignant gliomas is increasing and this cancer is often fast-growing so improved treatment options are critical. Because gliomas lack easily identifiable margins, it is challenging to resect this type of tumor in its entirety or to “get it all”. Simply put, 5-ALA basically lights up malignant tumors, even tiny, microscopic malignant cells. And when the neurosurgeon can more clearly see which tissue is glowing or lit up, he or she can more easily excise the tumor in it’s entirety… aka “getting it all”.
This novel approach is approved for use in Canada & Europe and is currently undergoing FDA approval here in the US.
University of Washington Medical Center is now using 5-ALA in surgery. For more information about this trial, contact Dr. Daniel Silbergeld, Professor of Neurological Surgery, by calling Laurie Lee, RN at 206-598-9449. In the Fall of 2011, University of Miami will also offer this clinical trial, where my very favorite Neurosurgeon Dr. Rick Komotar will be setting up shop in July, 2011.