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Tumors 'light up' with new, unique imaging system using scorpion venom protein and a laser
Date:2/25/2014

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 24, 2014) Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute and Department of Neurosurgery have developed a unique, compact, relatively inexpensive imaging device to "light up" malignant brain tumors and other cancers.

The experimental system consists of a special camera designed and developed at Cedars-Sinai and a new, targeted imaging agent based on a synthetic version of a small protein a peptide found in the venom of the deathstalker scorpion. The imaging agent, Tumor Paint BLZ-100, a product of Blaze Bioscience Inc., homes to brain tumor cells. When stimulated by a laser in the near-infrared part of the spectrum, it emits a glow that is invisible to the eye but can be captured by the camera.

Results of animal studies, published as the feature article in the February issue of Neurosurgical Focus, provide the basis for the launch of human clinical trials. The system would be used during surgery to determine if it enables neurosurgeons to remove more tumor and spare more healthy tissue.

Malignant brain tumors called gliomas are among the most lethal tumors, with patients typically surviving about 15 months after diagnosis. "We know that survival statistics increase if we can remove all of a tumor, but it is impossible to visualize with the naked eye where tumor stops and brain tissue starts, and current imaging systems don't provide a definitive view," said Keith Black, MD, chair and professor of the Department of Neurosurgery, the article's senior author.

"Gliomas have tentacles that invade normal tissue and present big challenges for neurosurgeons: Taking out too much normal brain tissue can have catastrophic consequences, but stopping short of total removal gives remaining cancer cells a head start on growing back. That's why we have worked to develop imaging systems that will provide a clear distinction during surgery between diseased tissue and normal brain," said Blac
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Contact: Sandy Van
sandy@prpacific.com
808-526-1708
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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