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LSUHSC inventor awarded patent for new procedure to detect cancer spread
Date:6/24/2008

New Orleans, LA Eugene A. Woltering, MD, FACS, The James D. Rives Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Sections of Surgical Oncology & Endocrine Surgery at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, has been awarded a US Patent for a one-step method to rapidly identify "sentinel nodes;" the lymph nodes most likely to contain early metastasis from a primary cancer. Preliminary research indicates that the procedure which consists of injection of a radiolabeled dye around a cancer can identify sentinel nodes that receive lymphatic drainage from the tumor within 10 minutes.

Dr. Woltering's patent is based on linking a radioactive iodine molecule to the blue dye commonly used in these sentinel node procedures. One of the major ways to determining the prognosis of a cancer involves determining whether the cancer has metastasized into other areas of the body. As lymphatic fluid flows from the primary tumor, the lymph fluid flows through lymph channels and then into lymph nodes where it often begins to multiply and grow. The first lymph node that is reached by the lymphatic fluid as it drains from the tumor region is called the sentinel lymph node. The sentinel lymph nodes for breast tumors are usually found in the axilla, or armpit.. A tumor may have one or more sentinel lymph nodes.

In contrast to the current two-step sentinel node mapping process, Dr. Woltering's method involves injecting 125I-labeled methylene blue, mixed with an unlabeled dye to determine the location of the sentinel lymph nodes in or near the tumor or tumor site utilizing a hand held Geiger counter like device. Within about 10 minutes, enough of the dye has accumulated in sentinel nodes to be visible with the naked eye, or detectable using a radiation- detecting device called a gamma probe.

A sentinel lymph node biopsy is used to determine whether all lymph nodes in
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Contact: Leslie Capo
lcapo@lsuhsc.edu
504-452-9166
Louisiana State University Health Science Center
Source:Eurekalert

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