Las Vegas, NV -  Southern Hills Hospital and medical center is the first hospital in Nevada to use the ‘Pink Drink,  or its clinical name Gleolan™ (aminolevulinic acid HCl), to help highlight brain tumors during neurosurgery.

Here’s how it works: A patient drinks a liquid about an hour before surgery. The ‘pink drink’ attaches to the tumor making it glow fluorescent pink under a blue light during surgery. The Pink Drink has a remarkable ability to pass through the blood-brain barrier and penetrate a tumor; when viewed under blue light during surgery it fluoresces as a hot pink indicator distinguishing tumor cells from healthy brain tissue around it. This allows surgeons to see and remove even more of the tumor.

These life-threatening tumors generally have serious consequences and infiltrate into brain tissue which makes the tumors difficult to remove, or “resect”. Maximizing a safe resection is the primary goal of surgery.

Dr. John Anson, chief of surgery at Southern Hills Hospital, and Dr. Angela Palmer performed the surgery.

“It’s actually super cool,” Dr. Anson said of the technology. “One minute you think you’re done with the surgery and then you flip the blue light on and it’s a completely different picture.”

Dr. Angela Palmer echoed the sentiment.

“With these tumors a patients’ survival is directly impacted by how much of this tumor we get out. So removing as much as possible is extremely important,” she said. “We are now using this technology and I think that should give patients hope.”