Glioma is considered the most dangerous type of brain tumor. Not only does it react poorly to conventional chemotherapy, it also hides well from scanners, spreading across a wide range of brain tissue. It seems that in the near future the treatment of this type of cancer will become a little easier – scientists have created a new type of tumor imaging, which causes cancer cells to "glow like a Christmas tree." The most interesting thing is that based on the technology lies an amino acid contained in the scorpion venom.
To make the tumor more noticeable and highlight its facets for subsequent removal, researchers from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center used a compound called tosulehistid (BLZ-100). It is a synthetic variation of a peptide extracted from scorpion venom that easily binds to cancer cells in the brain. By adding a fluorescent dye to it, the researchers made it well visible with infrared radiation – on the screen, the tumor stands out well against the background of healthy brain tissue.
With this fluorescence, the tumor can be seen much clearer because it glows like a Christmas tree.
Adam Mamelak, Senior Research Author
The BLZ-100 tumor detection agent was tested on 17 patients — it was proven to be non-toxic and completely safe. Along with it, a new, compact camera was tested, which allows surgeons to switch between infrared and ordinary images in real time. Previously, this required some bulky cameras.
A new imaging technique has successfully passed clinical trials, and at the moment, researchers are evaluating the possibility of using it to detect tumors in children. The technique will begin to be widely used after the approval of the FDA Medical Quality Supervision Authority.
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