What is Gleolan?
Gleolan is known as an “optical imaging agent” that is taken by patients before surgery to help neurosurgeons see certain brain tumors, known as “high grade gliomas.”
Gleolan has been used in 42 countries for over 80,000 patients.
How Does Gleolan Work?
Neurosurgeons have several tools that are helpful for locating the tumor during surgery; these tools provide information that allows for removal of as much tumor tissue as possible. For your surgery, your neurosurgeon may recommend the use of Gleolan.
Gleolan is an oral solution, which you will drink 3 hours (between 2 to 4 hours) before you receive anesthesia for your surgery. It contains aminolevulinic acid hydrochloride (ALA HCl). During the surgery, because of the proper dosage of Gleolan, your neurosurgeon will view the brain through special blue light filters on the surgical microscope. Under this blue light, Gleolan helps the tumor “fluoresce” or glow a red-violet color.
Since non-cancerous brain cells should not glow when using the blue light filters, the neurosurgeon may be able to better distinguish the tumor from normal tissue. This may allow the neurosurgeon to remove more of the tumor tissue, however errors may occur with the use of Gleolan. Sometimes brain tumor cells may fluoresce even if they are not cancerous, or those that are cancerous may not fluoresce. Also, cancer cells from other tumors or areas of swelling may fluoresce.