New technology will allow neurosurgeons to see brain tumors better

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Augusta, GA (WJBF)- May is Brain Cancer Awareness month and the Georgia Cancer Center is working on a new technology to make brain surgeries a little easier.

This year an estimated 25,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with brain cancer. Brain tumors can be difficult to operate on, making it harder to treat brain cancer.

“So, one of the very difficult things about a lot of brain cancers is that they can be very infiltrative, which means they can sort of spread through the brain without us being able to necessarily seek them with the naked eye. So any agent or technology we can use that allows them to light up or become a little more obvious in comparison to the brain that surrounds them, can really help us with our surgical goals,” said Dr. Martin Rutkowski, a neurosurgeon at the Georgia Cancer Center.

Dr. Rutkowski said this new technology is a game changer for patients with brain cancer.

A new imaging agent will soon be available at the Georgia Cancer Center that will make brain tumors more visible to surgeons. It’s called Gleolan and it turns malignant brain tumors fluorescent pink. This makes the tumors easier for neurosurgeons to see and separate from brain tissue.

“We know from a lot of evidence that we have, obviously brain tumors are a very very difficult cancer to treat. And so we do a lot of research here at the Medical College of Georgia and we certainly know that the more of a cancer you are able to remove, and this is really true of most cancers in the body, but in particular brain cancer, the more of it you’re able to remove, the longer that patients will live,” said Dr. Rutkowski.

Dr. Rutkowski told NewsChannel 6 that the agent is a game changer for surgeons and will allow some previously difficult to reach tumors, to be more accessible. They are also able to use it with other technology, such as awake surgeries, to increase the chances for success.

Photo Journalist: Mark Gaskins

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