Jumat, 03 Februari 2012

Tumor Paint to Transform Cancer Surgery

One of the biggest fears of cancer patients undergoing surgery to remove a malignancy is that, despite his or her best efforts, the surgeon will unwittingly leave some cancer cells behind. Removing every malignant cell can prove challenging, as cancer has a way of embedding itself in surrounding tissue and spreading throughout the body.

Driven by the same concern, researchers at Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center spent three years developing a molecular "paint" to coat cancer cells with a mixture of a peptide derived from scorpion venom (chlorotoxin) and a fluorescent molecule "beacon" that emits near infrared light. The beacon can be seen by a special camera that can detect it through bodily fluids and even bone.

The paint, called Chlorotoxin:Cy5.5, can light up tumors as small as 200 cells. Current technology like magnetic resonance imaging can only detect tumors that are at least 1 million cells. This is a huge leap forward in helping doctors identify the micrometastases that can make breast and brain cancers so dangerous. With the cancer cells clearly distinguished from surrounding cells, surgeons can remove all cancerous cells without harming healthy tissue – particularly important in delicate brain surgery.

The research team was led by Dr. James Olsen, PhD. "Neurosurgeons have been working for decades to find a way to better distinguish tumor tissue from normal tissue, says Olsen, "Tumor Paint is a powerful tool in the fight against brain and other cancers, and has the potential to fundamentally transform surgical oncology."

Clinical trials in mice were successful, and in late 2011, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center entered into an agreement with Blaze Bioscience to develop the tumor paint for use in humans. Blaze Bioscience is a biotechnology company founded in 2010 to develop and commercialize the Tumor Paint and other technologies to assist surgeons to improve the lives of cancer patients.

Olsen and his team are also enthusiastic about Chlorotoxin:Cy5.5's potential as a non-invasive screening tool for skin, cervical, esophageal, colon and lung cancers. Using the tumor paint to identify malignant cells in neighboring lymph nodes would be a significant advancement in the early detection of breast, prostate and testicular cancers.

0 komentar:

Posting Komentar