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Liquid brain cancer treatment rolled out across NHS could save thousands of lives

Liquid brain cancer treatment rolled out across NHS could save thousands of lives

A "pink drink" that allows surgeons to target brain tumours by making them glow under blue light has been rolled out across the NHS.


Professor Keyoumars Ashkan, the lead for neuro-oncology at Kings College Hospital in London, told Sky News the move could save thousands of lives across the UK every year.

Professor Keyoumars Ashkan, the lead for neuro-oncology at Kings College Hospital in London, told Sky News the move could save thousands of lives across the UK every year.
A liquid, known as 5-ALA, uses a fluorescent dye to make cancerous cells show up under a blue light.

This enables surgeons to more precisely target brain tumour tissue during surgery to remove it, and helps to spare healthy brain cells.

Research suggests a whole tumour can be successfully removed in 70% of cases where 5-ALA is used.

The treatment has been available in some NHS hospitals but will now be available in every neurological centre in England.
"This drug helps us because it can differentiate and delineate a tumour a lot better than it would be under an ordinary white light, so the better we can see, the more clear the margins.

"You're going to be able to remove more of the tumour, and hopefully with less risks, and therefore actually get a better outcome for the patients."

Professor Ashkan says he wishes the drug could have been rolled out earlier.

He added: "This is a great advancement for patients, at the end of the day we are here to help our patients so we have got an extra tool which is now widely available, let's use it."

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