Glow-in-the-dark technology 'tested for brain tumour treatment'

1 November 2011

A new cancer treatment method is being put under scrutiny in a clinical trial to test glow-in-the-dark brain technology.

Scientists for Cancer Research UK are testing a new piece of kit which lights up the brain to give surgeons better visibility when operating to remove brain tumours.

The trial for the pioneering new treatment was launched in the UK and led by Dr Colin Watts, Higher Education Funding Council for England clinical senior lecturer at the University of Cambridge.

Named GALA-5, the trial will involve 60 patients who have recently been diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive malignant brain tumour. The average survival rate is just 15 months from diagnosis.

The trial will look at the tolerability and feasibility of two treatments used together to see how effective they are on surgical procedures and outcomes.

One treatment of 5-ALA (5-Amino-Levulinic Acid), which is converted in the body to a fluorescent chemical, will make the tumour glow under ultraviolet light during surgery.

The second therapy is given after the tumour is removed and involves inserting wafers impregnated with the chemotherapy drug carmustine into the cavity.

Dr Watts said: "I strongly feel that our best opportunity to progress further is to emphasise funding of lab-based research and innovative trials and the GALA-5 trial is a significant step forward in making this a reality."

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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