Horizon surgeon leads new neurosurgery technique to improve outcomes for patients with brain tumours

(MONCTON) – Horizon Health Network has taken a leading role in expanding the use of an exciting product that is helping enhance the ability of neurosurgeons to successfully remove malignant brain tumours.

Dr. Dhany Charest, Chief of Neurosurgery at Horizon’s The Moncton Hospital, has been selected as the lead trainer in Atlantic Canada, with the imaging agent Gleolan now being made more widely available in Canada for certain neurosurgical procedures. He is one of only five physicians in Canada authorized to provide training in the use of Gleolan. 

In partnership with Medexus Pharmaceuticals Inc., Gleolan is now being used in Horizon operating rooms for procedures involving the removal of high-grade gliomas – rapidly-evolving malignant brain tumours.

Gleolan is consumed orally by the patient prior to their surgery, which causes the tumour to become illuminated under a blue light.

This provides the surgeon with a much clearer view of the tumour, allowing for a more complete removal of malignant tissue.

After Gleolan is administered, areas within the tumour glow in a fluorescent pink or red, while healthy brain tissue appears blue when exposed to a special blue light during surgery.  

Dr. Charest notes that the expanded availability of the product in Canada represents a major step forward, both for the surgeon and the patient.

“With this product, we’re able to be very aggressive yet still retain as much normal brain function as we can,” he said. “The product allows us to better identify the most abnormal part of the tumour, which allows us to be more complete in our resection and have a safer removal – the evidence has shown us that better, more aggressive and safe surgery does improve life expectancy in our patients with malignant tumours. 

According to the Brain Tumour Registry of Canada, the incidence of glioblastoma is four per 100,000 people in Canada and about 1,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with glioblastoma every year.

There are currently no other optical imaging agents approved for use in Canada for the purpose of visualization of malignant tissue during glioma surgery.

“Congratulations to Dr. Charest on his recent appointment as President of the Canadian Neurosurgical Society, and for introducing this exciting health care technology to Horizon,” said Dr. Édouard Hendriks, Vice President Medical, Academic and Research Affairs for Horizon Health Network. “This medical advancement improves the lives for our patients, and aligns with Horizon’s strategic plan to improve health care outcomes through innovative new techniques.”

Dr. Charest has so far provided training to Horizon neurosurgeons based in Moncton and Saint John, with additional training scheduled for other areas in the near future.

In addition to New Brunswick neurosurgeons, Dr. Charest will also provide guidance and expertise to neurosurgeons in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

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For more information contact:

Kris McDavid
Media Relations