University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center becomes first in U.S. to use newly FDA-approved imaging agent that makes brain tumors glow hot pink

Friday, October 12, 2018

Color distinguishes tumor from healthy tissue to improve tumor removal

CLEVELAND –  The imaging agent 5-Aminolevulinic Acid (5-ALA), which helps neurosurgeons see the edges of a tumor more clearly to improve removal, was used in brain cancer surgery at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center today for the first time since the FDA approved it for use in the United States.  Although the drug has long been a standard of care in Germany and much of Europe, it was only approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. in 2017.

Andrew Sloan, MD, Director, Brain Tumor and Neuro-Oncology Center at UH Seidman and UH Cleveland Medical Center, who has been doing  clinical trials with the drug for almost a decade based on his own FDA-approved IND clinical trial, was the first neurosurgeon in the U.S. to use the drug on a patient with brain cancer since FDA approval.

Several published studies — including those from Dr. Sloan -- have shown that removing more tumor results in improved survival.  However, this often is difficult. 

“Glioblastoma are tumors which derive from the brain itself. They look like brain tissue, they feel like brain tissue, and at times, it’s hard to determine where tumor ends and inflamed brain tissue begins,” said Dr. Sloan.

To help identify the difference between the border of tumors and healthy tissue and improve tumor removal, Dr. Sloan used 5-ALA during surgery so that the tumor cells glowed hot pink when illuminated with a special blue light incorporated into his operating microscope.

This novel technique enabled him to see the edges of the tumors more clearly, allowing him to remove them more completely from the brain.

Download full release

<< Back
  • News Media Access

  • Register
  • Forgot My Password
  • Search:

    Advanced Search

  • Subscribe To Our Latest News

    Subscribe to University Hospitals' RSS Feeds or Email Alerts to get our latest news.

    University Hospitals RSS Feed  University Hospitals Email Alerts
  • Twitter

    Must select a Twitter Account for Rail Gadget in Twitter Tool.

You must be logged in to view this item.


This area is reserved for members of the news media. If you qualify, please update your user profile and check the box marked "Check here to register as an accredited member of the news media". Please include any notes in the "Supporting information for media credentials" box. We will notify you of your status via e-mail in one business day.