ó Last year, Shawn Monti and his wife, Kathy, drove two
hours from their home in Port St. Lucie, Fla., to the
University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center in
46, father of five, had just been diagnosed with glioblastoma,
a fast-growing brain tumor. Doctors told him he had six months
the Palm Beach County sheriffís deputy is alive and hopeful
after undergoing surgery at Sylvester in which doctors
injected sodium fluorescein, an FDA-approved drug that
illuminates brain tumor tissue, making it glow neon green
under a UV light. This helps doctors delineate the good tissue
from the cancerous tissue, which can be difficult to discern
in the brainís complex folds.
Ricardo Komotar, the surgeon who performed the procedure on
Monti, said this type of technology is a "game
changer" for brain tumors, especially with tumors located
in critical areas like Montiís. His tumor was next to his
motor strip, part of the brainís frontal lobe that controls
goal is to take out as much of the tumor as possible, while
leaving as much healthy tissue (as possible) behind,"
said Komotar, an assistant professor of neurological surgery
and co-director of Surgical Neuro-oncology at Sylvester.
"I think if you donít have this technology, youíre
not going to be as aggressive as youíd like."
fluorescene has been used for more than a decade, primarily in
eye treatments. Only recently, however, has it been used by
surgeons for treating brain tumors. With recent studies
showing success in this field, doctors at Sylvester believe it
will become the standard of care for brain tumors.
as much of the tumor as safely as possible is key to
maintaining the quality of life.
just another piece of the pie," said Komotar, who
performed the three-hour operation while Monti was under
conscious sedation, a combination of sedatives and anesthetics
to help the patient relax (sedative) and block pain
(anesthetic). This allowed the doctors to monitor his motor
functions and strengths. "You need to have a
comprehensive approach to these tumors."
the sodium fluorescein, Monti likely would not have undergone
brain surgery, other than a biopsy, because Komotar said it
would have been too difficult to differentiate between the
healthy cells and the tumorous ones. As a result, chemotherapy
would not have been that successful in eradicating the tumor.
an MRI scan does not show any evidence of the tumor. But Montiís
battle with glioblastoma is not over. He will continue to
receive radiation and chemotherapy to help prevent the tumor
feel great," said Monti, who jokes when he sees video
footage of his surgery. "Hereís proof that I have a
brain. Itís been called into question many times."