A new treatment aid that will allow surgeons to identify areas of the brain affected by cancer more accurately has been made available to every neurological centre in England.
Known as ‘the pink drink’, 5-ALA uses fluorescent dye and ultraviolet light to make cancerous cells glow under UV light. This allows surgeons to more accurately identify the affected areas of the brain.
The treatment aid will help to tackle some of the hardest to treat cases and make sure healthy cells are left untouched. Around 2,000 patients a year could benefit, according to new figures released today.
The announcement comes one year on from the death of Baroness Tessa Jowell, who died from brain cancer in May 2018. The innovative cancer treatment aid is now available across the country as part of the NHS’s contribution to the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, established by the government after her death.
The NHS Long Term Plan aims to save thousands more lives by catching more cancers early and starting treatment fast. The ambition is that by 2028, an extra 55,000 people each year will survive for 5 years or more following their cancer diagnosis.
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, said: "Tessa Jowell fought passionately and courageously for more recognition of rare brain cancers before she tragically passed away last year.
"One year on, the effects of her tireless campaigning can already been seen. I am proud to announce we have now rolled out this groundbreaking treatment aid across the country, transforming care for 2,000 patients every year – a fitting testament to Tessa’s memory."