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Purdue technology used in first fluorescence-guided ovarian cancer surgery
Date:9/18/2011

k an imaging agent or drug into a cancer cell. Most ovarian cancer cells require large amounts of the vitamin to grow and divide, and special receptors on the cell's surface grab the vitamin - and whatever is linked to it - and pull it inside. Not all cancer cells express the folate receptor, and a simple test is necessary to determine if a specific patient's cancer expresses the receptor in large enough quantities for the technique to work, he said.

Ovarian cancer has one of the highest rates of folate receptor expression at about 85 percent. Approximately 80 percent of endometrial, lung and kidney cancers, and 50 percent of breast and colon cancers also express the receptor, he said.

Low also is investigating targeting molecules that could be used to carry attached imaging agents or drugs to forms of cancer that do not have folate receptors.

He next plans to develop a red fluorescent imaging agent that can be seen through the skin and deep into the body. The current agent uses a green dye that had already been through the approval process to be used in patients, but cannot easily be seen when present deep in tissue. Green light uses a relatively short wavelength that limits its ability to pass through the body, whereas the longer wavelengths of a red fluorescent dye can easily be seen through tissue.

"We want to be able to see deeper into the tissue, beyond the surface," Low said. "Different cancers have tumors with different characteristics, and some branch and wind their way deeper into tissue. We will continue to evolve this technology and make improvements that help cancer patients."

In addition to Low and van Dam, the paper's authors include George Themelis, Athanasios Sarantopoulos and Vasilis Ntziachristos of the Institute for Biological and Medical Imaging at the Technical University of Munich in Germany; Lucia Crane, Niels Harlaar, Rick Pleijhuis, Wendy Kelder and Johannes de Jong of the division of surgical
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Contact: Elizabeth K. Gardner
ekgardner@purdue.edu
765-494-2081
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert  

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