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New Neurosurgery Technology Illuminates Operating Rooms at CHS Cancer Institutes

October 15th, 2020
Doctors using Gleolan Tech

The Catholic Health Services (CHS) Cancer Institute at Good Samaritan Hospital is offering a new neurosurgery technology that will improve quality outcomes for the patient and benefit surgeons performing the procedure.   

Called Gleolan (5-ALA), this technology employs an optical imaging agent that the patient drinks prior to surgery. The liquid illuminates brain tumors, offering greater visibility pinpointing the harmful cells. Borimir Darakchiev, MD, FAANS, FACS, a neurosurgeon at the CHS Cancer Institute at Good Samarian described this technology works and how it is better for patients.

Who will this new technology benefit, and what are some of the traditional challenges that it will improve?

Gleolan is for patients with malignant brain tumors. When you operate on these invasive tumors, you see only a small section.  The rest is buried within the brain tissue, making it difficult to determine where the tumor ends and the brain begins. Many times we leave the tumor behind because it’s hard to identify the exact margin of the tumor.

How does this technology work?

The patient drinks the Gleolan two hours prior to the procedure. It crosses the blood-brain barrier and accumulates in tumor cells. During the procedure, when subjected to a blue light source, the tumor cells release a pinkish fluorescence while the normal brain cells remain blue. In the past, we concentrate on removing the visible abnormal cells. Now with the assistance of the Gleolan, we are able to remove larger sections of the tumor, offering patients better long-term outcomes. 

How will this benefit patients who undergo this procedure with the new technology?

This technology will offer a more complete tumor resection which minimizes the chance of tumor recurrence and ultimately prolongs the patient’s life.     

Visit chscancer.org for more information on the CHS Cancer Institute.

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Doctors using Gleolan Tech
Courtesy of Gleolan
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