An experimental technique to make brain tumours
glow is being tested in clinical trials and could soon be used to aid surgeons
across the country.
GALA-5 will involve at least 60 patients newly
diagnosed with glioblastoma, the most common primary malignant brain tumour in
adults. Participants will receive a treatment called 5-amino-levulinic acid,
which makes the tumour glow under UV light during surgery. The glowing edges
will enable surgeons to remove it more accurately.
A drug soaked wafer will then be placed in the
remaining cavity, slowly releasing chemotherapy drugs over 4 to 6 weeks and
killing any remaining cancer cells. If a combination of the two therapies is
found to be safe and effective, the pioneering technique will be followed by a
larger phase III trial.
But until the GALA-5 technique has been approved
and marketed, it will be considered experimental treatment. Not all private
medical insurance covers unproven treatment.
According to ActiveQuote:
- PruHealth will not pay for any treatment or
drug therapy that is considered to be experimental, or for which there is
insufficient evidence of safety or effectiveness
- Bupa does not pay for unproven treatment,
unless it is part of a clinical trial that the company has approved
- From January, Aviva will cover experimental
treatment in full if there is enough medical information to support their use.
In this case, Aviva will pay the equivalent cost of the established treatment.
Richard Theo of ActiveQuote explains: "Once the
GALA-5 trial is found to be safe and effective, it will be approved and
licensed for widespread public health use. At this point, many patients with
comprehensive cancer cover will have access to this treatment on their policy.
Private medical insurance is not designed to cover pre-existing conditions, so
if people want to be covered for brain cancer treatment they should purchase a
policy as an investment for their future.”
Private medical insurance news: 25 November 2011