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Tumor Painting to Fight Against Cancer

Chlorotoxin:Cy5.5 is applicable to many cancers, but is especially helpful to surgeons operating on brain tumors. Not only would it reveal whether theyd left behind any bits of tumor, it would also help them avoid removing normal tissue.

Chlorotoxin:Cy5.5 activates within hours and it begins binding to cancer cells within minutes. The Chlorotoxin:Cy5.5 signal lasts for 14 days, illuminating cancer cells. Contrast agents currently in use only last for a few minutes.

I feel fortunate to be working with gifted scientists to bring this revolutionary imaging technique from the laboratory to the bedside, said Richard Ellenbogen, MD, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, Seattle Children's Hospital and co-investigator on the study. This development has the potential to save lives and make brain tumor resection safer.

Surgery remains a primary form of cancer therapy. Despite advances in surgical tools, surgeons currently rely on color, texture or blood supply to differentiate tumor from normal tissue, a distinction that is often subtle and imperfect.

The limitations of this method contribute to cancer growth or patient mortality that is potentially preventable. The tumor painting technique combines a visual guide for the surgeon with the potential for significant improvement in accuracy and safety.

Tumor painting has been successfully tested in mice and the pilot safety trials are complete. Olson and his team are preparing the necessary toxicity studies before seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration to begin clinical trials.

Chlorotoxin:Cy5.5 could be used in operating rooms in as little as 18 months. All clinical studies will have consenting adult participants. Olson and his team believe that Chlorotoxin:Cy5.5 has the potential to be used in the future as a non-invasive screening tool for early detection of skin, cervical, esophageal, colon and lung cancers.

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