Tumor Paint for Hunter’s Brain

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SEATTLE. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — There’s promising new research that could help surgeons in the future more safely remove brain tumors. Doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital are currently studying the safety of using tumor paint to highlight significant areas of the brain.

“Christmas day he vomited first thing in the morning,” said Laura Coffman. “I kept taking his temperature all day.”

Coffman knew something was wrong with her son Hunter, but had no idea he had a brain tumor.

“They found the mass and about ten minutes later we were walking up to put him into surgery,” Coffman told Ivanhoe.

The family agreed to allow Hunter to be part of a study at Seattle Children’s Hospital to light up his tumor during surgery using tumor paint.

Coffman detailed, “A couple weeks later, he was up and walking and was back to his normal self. It was absolutely amazing.”

Jim Olson, M.D., Ph.D., a brain tumor physician at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, was inspired by a patient and using a molecule in scorpions that binds to cancerous tumors he created a drug that makes the cancer stand out for surgeons.

“You don’t want to just take a big margin around the cancer like you do for other types of cancers because that could be a part of the brain that is for speech or thinking or remembering,” explained Dr. Olson.

Tumor paint has been used in 75 patients across four Phase I clinical trials. This first part of the study is focused on safety, and it looks promising.

Amy Lee, M.D., a pediatric neurosurgeon at Seattle Children Hospital, told Ivanhoe, “The fact that the tumor tissue fluoresces and that we can see the differentiation between normal tissue and abnormal tissue is really going to be a valuable tool for surgeons to use in the future.”

So far there have been no major side effects. Later this year, tumor paint will be used in 15 hospitals across the country for further study. Researchers hope to have it approved by the FDA in 2019. They are also starting to look at how it might help in other tumors, like breast cancer.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Nicole Sanchez, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Brett Whitney, Videographer.

 

MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGHS – RESEARCH SUMMARY

 

TOPIC:       Tumor Paint for Hunter’s Brain

REPORT:   MB #4226

 

BACKGROUND: Nearly 700,000 Americans are currently living with a brain tumor. It is the most common type of cancer in people between the ages of zero and 14, and it is the primary leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children. Brain tumors are also the third most common type of cancer in people between the ages of 15 to 39. Nevertheless, the median age for diagnosis for primary brain tumor is 59.
(Source: http://www.webmd.com/cancer/brain-cancer/brain-cancer & http://www.abta.org/about-us/news/brain-tumor-statistics/)

TREATMENTS: The treatment for brain cancer will depend on the patient’s age, general health and the size and location of the tumor. The most common treatments are radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. Most of the times a combination of these are performed. Brain surgery is usually performed to sample the tumor, or to partially or completely remove it. Nevertheless, performing a brain cancer surgery is a very delicate procedure since the brain is a vital organ for the body. Some side effects include seizures, weakness, balance/coordination difficulties, memory or cognitive problems, spinal fluid leak, meningitis, brain swelling, stroke, excess fluid on the brain, coma and death.
(Source: http://www.webmd.com/cancer/brain-cancer-treatment#1 & http://www.abta.org/brain-tumor-treatment/treatments/surgery.html)

TUMOR PAINT: Seattle Children’s Hospital, Research Institute and Foundation is currently on Phase I of their Tumor Paint BLZ-100 clinical research trial. The researchers aim to improve the outcomes of brain surgeries by using the drug tumor paint as a molecular flashlight that binds to tumor cells and makes them glow. During traditional brain surgery, malignant cells are difficult to set apart from healthy ones, and the removal of healthy tissue can lead to unfortunate side-effects. By being able to set apart the healthy tissue from the infected, doctors are able to perform the surgery with more confidence. In the current Phase I, the drug is injected before surgery making the tumor glow green when viewed under a laser light and imaged with a near-infrared camera system in the operating room. At the moment, the trial is focused on safety; the safety of the drug and how well it targets tumor tissue. Tumor paint has been used on 75 patients to date, with brain, breast and skin cancer. So far, there have been no side effects. Researchers hope to have the drug approved by the FDA by 2019.
(Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160928153729.htm, Dr. Jim Olson & Dr. Amy Lee)

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS REPORT, PLEASE CONTACT:

Claire Hudson

206-667-7365

crhudson@fredhutch.org

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com

 

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Jim Olson, M.D., Ph.D.

Read the entire Q&A