The scientists gave a drink infused with 5-ALA to the people having suspected glioma. This substance gets accumulated into the rapidly growing cells of cancer. The people having most serious or aggressive type of cancers show a pink colored glow which is caused due to this chemical. The researchers expect that this will help the surgeons to identify the difference between healthy tissues of brain and the cancer cells.
The treatment of glioma is the one form of common brain cancer which killed the ex-cabinet minister Jowell, which involves surgery that removes cancer tissues as much as possible while the prognosis is also poor. While the trial, 99 people with high grade gliomas were provided with a drink infused with 5-ALA prior to the surgery. The researchers has already proved that the 5-ALA helps in destroying the rapidly growing cells of cancer, as it lasts some enzymes essential for the breakdown of chemical.
The surgeons make use of microscopes for looking at the fluorescent tissues when tumours are removed from the brains of patients. While operating the patient, the surgeons find fluorescence in the 85 patients out of 99. Out of those, 81 patients were said to have very high grade glioma by the pathologists; one of them had low grade glioma while three of them were not assessed. The Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence has approved use of substance 5-ALA for treating the patients of brain tumors, previous to the surgery, last year.
This research has been presented at NCRI Conference held in Glasgow during 4-6 November, 2018. Also, further steps are taken to test the substance on children having brain cancer and distinguishing between the tumour and scar tissues present in adults, whose cancer have been recurred after the treatment. Different kinds of markers are needed to test and detect the low grade cells of glioma, study says.