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'Tumor Paint' Research Of Pediatric Oncologist Jim Olson Featured In Short Film -- A Sundance Festival Semifinalist
Date:11/27/2012

SEATTLE, Nov. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A three-minute film about a tiny molecule that lights up brain tumors so neurosurgeons can better distinguish cancer from normal tissue has a chance to get its own moment in the spotlight as a semifinalist in the Sundance Film Festival in January.

"Bringing Light," (http://vimeo.com/51888804) which focuses on the "Tumor Paint" research led by James Olson, M.D., Ph.D., a clinical researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and a pediatric oncologist at Seattle Children's Hospital, is available online for viewing and voting. Viewers have until Dec. 20 to cast their votes.

The film, directed by Bert Klasey, Chris Baron and James Allen Smith, also features neurosurgeon Richard Ellenbogen, M.D., chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine, among others. It is part of a filmmaker competition called "Short Films, Big Ideas" sponsored by Focus Forward Films. Out of 30 total entries, five finalists will be screened at Sundance 2013 and the grand-prize winner will receive $100,000.

Olson's team developed Tumor Paint by re-engineering scorpion venom (chlorotoxin), which naturally targets brain cancer cells, by tagging it with a molecule that acts like a flashlight, causing brain tumors to "light up" during surgery so the margins can be seen more easily. The goal is to help surgeons remove as much cancer as possible while safely leaving normal brain tissue intact.

Tumor Paint is not yet in human use but is being developed by Blaze Bioscience, a Seattle biotech founded by Olson and Heather Franklin, president and CEO.

The potential of Tumor Paint is not limited to brain tumors; it has been found in preclinical studies to light up prostate, colon, breast and other cancers.  It is anticipated that human trials in cancer patients will begin next year.

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SOURCE Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
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