New fluorescent injectable agent could help effectively remove tumors, decreasing chances of cancer recurrence. The injectable agent has been developed by scientists with the Duke University School of Medicine, MIT and Lumicell Inc.
Dubbed LUM015, the injectable agent has been used with 15 patients undergoing surgery for the removal of breast cancer or soft tissue sarcoma. The results of the trial are published in the Science Translational Medicine journal, the January 6th edition.
The injectable agent LUM015 showed great potential in turning cancer cells fluorescent. Due to their luminosity, surgeons may locate cancerous tumors easier. In addition, LUM015 may enable surgeons to remove cancerous tumors with the first attempt, reducing the need for second surgeries.
This imaging technology used with 15 patients during the trial did not show any adverse effects. LUM015 proved safe to use with the breast cancer patients. Moreover, the injectable agent acted as guiding tool for the surgeons performing the removal of cancerous tumors by illuminating cancer cells.
Currently, surgeons undertaking cancerous tumors removing surgeries depend on CT scans or MRIs as guiding tools. The imaging technique have their limitations. While the bulk of the tumor is shown, the margin may remain unclear. Thus, surgeons have to carefully remove the tumor and margins altogether. Even so, cancerous tissue remains hidden which often leads to a second surgery in addition to radiation therapy.
David Kirsch, the senior author of the study explained that while a pathologist examines the tissue microscopically after it is removed, the same is impossible while surgeons are caught in the cancerous tumors removal surgeries.
The new fluorescent injectable agent could help effectively remove tumors while offering surgeons a rapid and practical tool. LUM015 may become the tool enabling surgeons to scan the tumor bed as the surgery is ongoing. Due to the injectable agent, cancer cells become fluorescent. Thus, by tracking residual fluorescence during the surgery, surgeons could efficiently remove all cancerous tissue at once.
The injectable agent LUM015 was tested on mice. It is the first agent to track down cancer cells that was tested for safety with human patients. In addition, the injectable agent was developed by Lumicell. While LUM015 makes cancerous tissue become fluorescent, the signals cannot be detected with the naked eye.
Thus, an imaging device is also developed by Lumicell. The injectable agent and the imaging device could help screen the tumor bed and help surgeons achieve the goal of removing 100 percent of the cancerous tumor at first attempt, while helping patients to not suffer a cancer recurrence.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia
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