Navigation Links
University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center Tests Novel Drug That Makes Brain Tumors Glow Hot Pink

CLEVELAND, Dec. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Just 24 hours after Lisa Rek sang at her niece's wedding, her husband Brad was driving her to a local hospital.

"The pain got worse. When we got to the emergency room, I said to Brad 'something is just not right,'" Rek remembers.

After an MRI showed a suspected tumor, Rek was immediately flown to Seidman Cancer Center at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center, where Andrew Sloan, MD, diagnosed her with Stage 4 glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer and the most difficult to treat.

"The tumors are comprised of the brain itself. It looks like brain tissue, it sort of feels like brain tissue. It's hard to figure out necessarily where tumor ends and swollen brain tissue begins," says Dr. Sloan, Director of the Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center and Peter D. Cristal Chair in Neurosurgery at UH Case Medical Center and Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

To help identify the difference between tumors and healthy tissue and improve tumor resection, Dr. Sloan is testing an experimental drug called 5-Aminolevulinic Acid (5-ALA). The drug makes brain tumor cells glow hot pink when illuminated with a special blue light incorporated into his operating microscope.

This novel technique enables surgeons to visualize the edges of the tumor more clearly, allowing them to remove it more completely from the brain. Patients take the drug by mouth prior to surgery and then during their operation, Dr. Sloan uses the blue light to identify and remove tumor cells, a process called fluorescent guided resection (FGR). 

Rek is now one of the volunteers in the research trial.

Compared to normal tissue, high-grade gliomas (or brain tumors) metabolize 5-ALA to a fluorescent compound called protoporphyrin ix, a structure similar to that of chlorophyll found in plants. Tumors that absorb this compound fluoresce (glow) with the blue light. Using a specially modified surgical microscope that contains the blue light enables Dr. Sloan to see the glowing tumor tissue and help guide excision of the tumor.

"If we get out 95 to 99 percent of the tumor, we can almost essentially double the patient's survival," says Dr. Sloan.

Although 5-ALA is routinely used for FGR in Europe, it has not been approved by the FDA in the United States and thus is not widely used.  UH Case Medical Center is one of a handful of hospitals studying the drug in the U.S. for brain tumor surgery.  

Dr. Sloan, lead investigator of the study looking at the effects of varying 5-ALA dose levels, is collaborating with David Dean, PhD, Associate Professor and Director of the Imaging Laboratory in the Department of Neurological Surgery at Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Dean, an engineer, is working with Dr. Sloan to improve how FGR is performed by precisely measuring protoporphyrin ix fluorescence in tumors using a digital fiber-optic probe during surgery.  Drs. Dean and Sloan believe that the digital probe will be both more sensitive and more precise than the current technique which is based on the surgeon's perception of how "pink" the tumor is.

The study is supported with funds from Dr. Sloan's Peter D. Cristal Chair in Neurosurgery and the Kimble Foundation.

"Nearly 13,000 people are diagnosed each year in the U.S. with malignant gliomas.  Unfortunately, cures are rare and most patients live less than 2 years, so improved treatment options are critical," says Dr. Sloan.

A video about the 5-ALA research and Lisa Rek's story can be viewed at:

About University Hospitals
University Hospitals serves the needs of patients through an integrated network of hospitals, outpatient centers and primary care physicians.  At the core of our health system is University Hospitals Case Medical Center.  The primary affiliate of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, University Hospitals Case Medical Center is home to some of the most prestigious clinical and research centers of excellence in the nation and the world, including cancer, pediatrics, women's health, orthopedics and spine, radiology and radiation oncology, neurosurgery and neuroscience, cardiology and cardiovascular surgery, organ transplantation and human genetics. Its main campus includes the internationally celebrated UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, ranked among the top children's hospitals in the nation; UH MacDonald Women's Hospital, Ohio's only hospital for women; and UH Seidman Cancer Center, part of the NCI-designated Case Comprehensive Cancer Center. For more information, go to


SOURCE University Hospitals
Copyright©2010 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. Vantage Health 51% Owned Tanzanian Subsidiary Awarded Lot 1, Lot 2 and Lot 3 of University of Dar Es Salaam Pharmaceutical and Medical Supply Tender
2. Clinicians at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System First in World to Use "Triggered Imaging" Technology From Varian Medical Systems
3. Rockefeller University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne Elected to Regeneron Board of Directors
4. University Hospitals Case Medical Center Researchers Search for Mysteries of Dystonia With Advanced Brain Imaging
5. International Isotopes Inc. Announces the Completion of an Agreement in Principle With Idaho State University for the Production of Copper-67 for Experimental Use in Cancer Treatment
6. DMC Harper University Hospital is the First in Michigan to Utilize New Device for Brain Tumor Removal
7. Sectra Signs Medical Imaging Research Agreement With University Hospitals in Cleveland
8. Waters Recognizes the Dr. Ganesh Anand Laboratory at the National University of Singapore as Center of Innovation
9. VaxyGen Manufacturing Services LLC Announces Exclusive License and Collaborative Agreement with Georgia State University Research Foundation to Commercialize Novel Biological Process Development Patent, Expertise & Know-How
10. Cardinal Health Foundation, The Ohio State University Launch New Toolkit to Help Reduce Misuse of Prescription Drugs
11. PAREXEL and National University of Singapore Establish Program in Singapore to Meet Increasing Demand in Asia for Clinical Research Talent
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... --> adds "Global ... and "Investigation Report on China Repaglinide ... 2021 forecasts data and information to ... . --> ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , Nov. 26, 2015 Research and ... of the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, ... --> --> ... of the Italian therapeutic drug monitoring market, including ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... addition of the  "2016 Future Horizons ... Cell Surface Marker Testing Market: Supplier ... to their offering.  --> ... of the  "2016 Future Horizons and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Insightra Medical, Inc. and Novus ... technology for soft tissue repair in the US via Insightra’s national direct sales ... mesh intended to support and reinforce soft tissue for 6-9 months before absorbing ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... SIMmersion’s ability to present dynamic scenarios ... of the future. To reach an audience of key visionaries and reformers in ... Chicago, organized by the American Medical Association. , AMA President Steven Stack, ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... enterprise Time and Attendance/Workforce Management cloud-based solutions, announced today that it has ... competencies in the Application Development, demonstrating a “best-in-class” ability and commitment to ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... November 30, 2015 (PRWEB) , ... ... ... and Winscribe are pleased to announce their strategic partnership at the Radiological ... consultants, SpeechCheck, Inc., and Winscribe, global providers of cutting-edge dictation and speech-enabled ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 30, 2015 , ... World Patent Marketing , a ... household invention that provides an economical and easy way of gaining customized curtains. ... at 2.6%," says Scott Cooper, CEO and Creative Director of World Patent Marketing. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):