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‘Groundbreaking’ new brain cancer treatment available

May 13, 2019 / Anna Smith

A new treatment hailed as ‘groundbreaking’ has been rolled out across the country as part of the NHS' Long Term Plan, and could see as many as 2,000 patients benefit as a result. 5-ALA (5-AminoLevulinic Acid), dubbed ‘the pink drink’, uses fluorescent dye and ultraviolet light to make cancerous cells glow under UV light, enabling surgeons to more accurately identify the affected areas of the brain. This method will help to tackle some of the hardest to treat cases and make sure healthy cells are left untouched. This is welcome news, as brain surgery is risky, with a danger of damaging healthy parts of the brain leading to permanent disability in severe cases. Surgery is currently the main form of treatment, but the 5-ALA technology helps neurosurgeons to achieve a higher percentage of successful tumour removal.