Researchers are now developing a way to produce glowing tumors by injecting fluorescent dye into patients in order to boost success rate of cancer surgery, reported New York Daily News on Jan. 6.
"A surgeon can see the main tumor mass but even when they think they have got it all ... there can be microscopic cancer cells left behind," said Dr. David Kirsch, a radiation oncologist and professor at Duke University.
The team reportedly tested the new method on 15 patients, infusing a substance that glowed once it came in contact with cancer cells. The only side effect reported was temporarily urinating
"If we can increase the cases where 100% of the tumor is removed, we could prevent subsequent operations and potentially cancer recurrence ... or reduce how much radiation a patient will receive," said Dr. Brian Brigman, chief of orthopedic oncology at Duke University and an author of the paper.
According to UPI on Jan. 6, the substance used by the scientists is known as LUM015, which could help doctors to detect the cancer cells they have missed as they work on removing tumors on a patient in the operating room.
Developed by American company Lumicell Inc., LUM015 produces glowing tumors once the substance reacts with enzymes on cancer cells. The glow, which is not visible to the naked eye, will then be detected by a camera-equipped handheld device manipulated by doctors during the operation.
"This pathologic technique to determine whether tumor remains in the patient is the best system we have currently, and has been in use for decades, but it's not as accurate as we would like," noted Brigman. "If this technology is successful in subsequent trials, it would significantly change our treatment of sarcoma."
"If we can increase the cases where 100 percent of the tumor is removed, we could prevent subsequent operations and potentially cancer recurrence," Brigman added. "Knowing where there is residual disease can also guide radiation therapy, or even reduce how much radiation a patient will receive."