Health Beat: Lighting up brain tumors
Updated On: Aug 26 2013 04:37:56 PM CDT
Sixty-nine thousand people will be told they have a brain tumor this year. For people with the most aggressive forms, they’re expected to live less than five years after receiving the diagnosis.
One major problem for surgeons is not being able to get the entire tumor out. Now, doctors are able to light up the tumor and see them better than ever before.
Judy Morrill walks four miles every single day with her dog, Emma, and her husband, Jim, by her side. Even the most deadly form of a brain tumor, called a glioblastoma, couldn’t slow her down.
"I just made up my mind that I was going to go forward and not backward and make the best of it," said Judy Morrill.
She had one surgery to remove most of the tumor, but with this type of cancer, the cells can spread like fingers throughout the brain.
Now, surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic are using a drug used to treat skin cancer, called 5-ALA, to literally light up cancer cells in the brain.
"It is converted primary by tumor cells into that substance that glows," Vogelbaum explained.
Morrill had a second surgery using 5-ALA, and doctors removed more of her tumor. Now 70, Morrill is looking forward to what this new decade will bring.
"I'm so lucky to be alive. Last year, I didn't think I would be here for my birthday and now I'm having one this year," Morrill said.
Although 5-ALA is approved to treat brain tumors in Europe and bladder cancer in the U.S., the Cleveland Clinic is one of the few hospitals in the country involved in a clinical trial using it.
Copyright 2013 WFMZ. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Call for unconscious people inside home a false alarm, officials say
Earnings stolen from family-owned Christmas tree farm
Man charged in rape of teen at hotel; coach accused of coverup
Storm's 1-2-3 punch: Frigid, snowy and icy
Phone scam scares people into wiring money to Puerto Rico
Homeless woman in custody, charged with stabbing homeless man
Proposed minimum wage increase could be tough for some
Coach accused of covering up rape surrenders to police
Toys for Tots: woman on video in Bucks County was volunteer, not thief
Roundup nets 18 drug suspects in Berks County; 8 still sought