latest health care news

13.05.19

‘Pink drink’ cancer treatment that helps surgeons spot brain tumours rolled out across NHS

A new innovative brain cancer treatment aid that allows surgeons to identify areas of the brain affected by cancer has been rolled out across the NHS and could save up to 2,000 patients a year.

Known as the ‘pink drink’, 5-ALA uses fluorescent dye and ultraviolet light to make cancerous cells glow under UV light, meaning surgeons can accurately identify the affected areas of the brain.

The government made the announcement one year after the death of Baroness Tessa Jowell, the Labour MP who was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most cancerous brain tumour in adults.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said she had “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 be seen.

“I am proud to announce we have now rolled out this ground-breaking treatment aid across the country, transforming care for 2,000 patients every year – a fitting testament to Tessa’s memory.

“A cancer diagnosis is life-changing, but I want every single patient to feel reassured that they have access to the best and fastest care in our wonderful NHS.”

c. PAPA WirePA Images

The dye means surgeons can now treat some of the most difficult cases of cancer whilst leaving healthy cells untouched.

Research suggests that a whole tumour can be removed successfully in 70.5% of cases where 5-ALA is used, which is more than double the current percentage.

The treatment has been rolled out in every neurological centre in England as part of the NHS’s contribution to the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission which was established after her death.

The new treatment is also part of the NHS Long-Term Plan’s aim to save thousands more lives by catching cancers early and starting treatment fast.

The government said its ambition is to see an extra 55,000 people a year survive for five years or more following their cancer diagnosis.

Cally Palmer, national cancer director at NHS England, said: “This is a positive step forward for brain cancer treatment and patients are already benefiting from Tessa Jowell’s inspirational campaigning in her final months.

“Transforming the lives of millions of people with cancer is at the heart of NHS England’s Long-Term Plan and we are rapidly driving forward action to catch more cancers earlier, provide innovative new treatments and save tens of thousands more lives every year.”

 Image credit - Nikada - PA/PA Wire/PA Images

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The NHS needs more senior women in leadership

The gender pay gap in the NHS remains a hotly debated topic, especially as the final report from the Gender Pay Gap in Medicine Review approaches. Andrea Hester, deputy director of employment relati more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News

comment

Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

13/06/2019Nurses named as least-appreciated public sector workers

Nurses have been named as the most under-appreciated public sector professi... more >

interviews

NHS dreams come true for Teeside cleaner

17/09/2019NHS dreams come true for Teeside cleaner

Over 20 years ago, a Teeside hospital cleaner put down her mop and took ste... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

23/08/2019An ageing population means hand care and injury prevention is more important than ever

Grey Giddins, member of the British Society for Surgery of the Hand, discusses how hand care and injury prevention have become increasingly important given the UK’s agei... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >