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Format: 04/20/2014
Format: 04/20/2014

News

WTAE-TV: Brain Tumor Treatment Described As 'Surgery Meets Laser Tag'

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

PITTSBURGH -- Dr. Khaled Aziz descries a new procedure being used in Pittsburgh to fight brain tumors as surgery meets laser tag.

Gliomas are primary brain tumors that affect as many as 12,000 Americans each year and can be difficult to remove.
 

But Allegheny General Hospital is one of a select few sites in the country approved by the FDA to use 5-aminolevulinic acid, an experimental drug which makes malignant tumors glow red when exposed to an ultraviolet light.

The technique helps surgeons better differentiate between healthy and cancerous tissue.

Donald Marsh, 72, had the procedure on Monday, but he's not concerned about making headlines, he's thinking about being around his grandchildren for a long time to come.

"I just wanted to make sure I could see him as long as I could," said Marsh.

Doctors told Channel 4 Action News anchor Michelle Wright that the technique is extending lives, increasing survival by one-third.

"I look at my life as a new life. My God, what can I say to these doctors?" said patient John Rotella.

Doctors predict all surgeons will have access to the experimental drug in five to seven years.

"This really represents a sea change in terms of the way we do the surgery. I guarantee you that if every surgeon had access to this, every surgeon would be using it because you'd be foolish not to," said Dr. Matthew Quigley, of Allegheny General Hospital.

 

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