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Fluorescent light helps surgeons target brain tumors

FL400 fluorescence with 5-ALA supports surgical visualization during tumor resection

At Leica we are proud that our products provide surgeons with enhanced visualization so they can preserve or improve quality of life for their patients. A recent broadcast by the US network Fox News describes how a substance called 5-aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA), used with FL400 fluorescence from Leica, supported a neurosurgeon during a successful brain tumor resection on a new mother.

Lily Snowden had already undergone one surgery at the age of 18 to remove a stage 3 glioblastoma. Two years later, while pregnant with her first child, doctors discovered that the tumor had grown back. A vital second surgery was performed immediately following the birth of her son by Costas G Hadjipanayis, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, New York.

The young mother chose to travel from Texas to Mount Sinai Beth Israel as she learned that Dr. Hadjipanayis is conducting a US clinical trial on the benefits of oncological fluorescence with 5-ALA. Once ingested by the patient, 5-ALA is metabolized by the tumor cells and converted into a compound called PPIX that glows red under the blue light from the FL400 fluorescence module. This can aid the surgeon to differentiate tumor cells from healthy brain tissue during resection.

“I believe [with 5-ALA and oncological fluorescence] I can resect these tumors better”, says Dr. Hadjipanayis in the broadcast. “We’re able to see the tumor in real-time and then understand its relationship to other parts of the normal brain and stay away from critical pathways.”

Thanks to the success of the surgery, the young mother was soon able to return home and take care of her new-born son. Helping surgeons achieve such successful outcomes is what drives the medical team at Leica to continually strive for new and improved imaging solutions.

Watch the video on the Fox News YouTube channel to discover more about the case.