National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published guidelines recommending the use of chemical dye in brain tumour removal
The now widely-recommended use of a chemical dye (5-aminolevulinic acid-5 ALA) to assist neurosurgeons in brain tumour removal will make a huge difference to hundreds of patients living with the condition, NICE announced.
The chemical dye, known as ‘the pink drink’ is taken by patients prior to surgery and causes tumour cells to glow pink under ultraviolet light. This allows surgeons using a fluorescence-detecting microscope to see which parts of the brain are cancerous and those that are healthy.
Tom Roques, a consultant clinical oncologist at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Chair of the NICE committee, commented, "Going through cancer treatment is a very difficult time in a person’s life and we want patients to have the highest quality of care possible. The roll out of 5-ALA will see more patients treated to a gold standard level of care and will help delay the recurrence of brain tumours."
Dame Tessa Jowell, who sadly died earlier this year after being diagnosed with a brain tumour, had spoken in the House of Lords about making this dye more widely available to those needing it. Following this, Prime Minister Theresa May announced £40 million of government funding for the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission to further work around new research and clinical practise to support people diagnosed with brain tumours. This fund was further increased by £25 million from Cancer Research UK.
It is estimated that 11,000 people are diagnosed with a brain tumour in the UK every year. NICE’s new guidelines make recommendations about support and information that should be offered to patients as well as diagnosis, monitoring and treatment.
For more information on brain tumour support, visit The Brain Tumour Charity.
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