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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
DA meets with state police about missing woman case
Woman tied up, beat 4-year-old child, detectives say
Record-breaking warmth ahead of pre-Thanksgiving snow
Woman charged in stabbing death of man in Bethlehem
Reading's 'ugly' Christmas tree to stay on Penn Square
Reading's 'ugly' Christmas tree causes controversy
18-wheeler rolls over, dumps load on road
Kmart workers fight against Black Friday creep
Motorcycle rider killed in Bucks County crash
Reading parting ways with 'ugly' Christmas tree