Cancer treatment aid 5-ALA has been released across neurological centres in England.

Known as The Pink Drink, 5-ALA uses fluorescent dye and ultraviolet (UV) light to illuminate cancerous cells in the brain. This allows surgeons to identify affected areas for surgical applications.

The substance is expected to benefit up to 2,000 brain cancer patients each year. This treatment aid is anticipated to help address hard-to-treat cases.

The release is part of the National Health Service’s (NHS) contribution to the Tessa Jowell Brain Cancer Mission, which was established by the government to commemorate late UK politician and brain cancer patient Tessa Jowell.

UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said: “A cancer diagnosis is life-changing, but I want every single patient to feel reassured that they have access to the best and fastest care in our wonderful NHS.

“While more people are surviving cancer than ever before, we can and must do more, especially for people with few options left like those with rare brain cancer.

“As part of our Long Term Plan, this new pioneering technology is already saving lives, offering thousands of patients a greater chance of recovery and hope for the future.”

The treatment aid is in line with the NHS’ Long Term Plan, which aims to detect cancers at early stages of disease progression for quick treatment.

“Transforming the lives of millions of people with cancer is at the heart of NHS England’s Long Term Plan.”

NHS England national cancer director Cally Palmer said: “Transforming the lives of millions of people with cancer is at the heart of NHS England’s Long Term Plan.

“We are rapidly driving forward action to catch more cancers earlier, provide innovative new treatments and save tens of thousands more lives every year.”