Fluorescent tracer ‘lights up’ brain tumor for surgery

Fluorescent tracer ‘lights up’ brain tumor for surgery

Fluorescent tracer ‘lights up’ brain tumor for surgery.

A bright pink glow showed the precise pathway a glioma took to spread through the brain.

Neurosurgeons report that they harnessed the power of fluorescent light to illuminate a brain tumor so the entire growth could be removed.

A report describes a case in which a patient with glioblastoma swallowed a pill, called 5-ALA, and was taken to surgery about four hours later. The medication attached itself to tumor cells, causing them to glow brightly. Once the skull was opened, the doctors focused a blue light on the tumor, which gave the cancerous cells a pink glow, so the surgeons could differentiate malignant tissue from healthy tissue.