Saturday, July 29, 2017

Agent makes tumors glow for surgeons

Image courtesy Penn Medicine
CANCER DIGEST – July 29, 2017 – Using a combination of imaging technologies and an agent that makes tumors glow, surgeons identified and removed more cancerous nodules from lung cancer patients than they would have using preoperative PET scans alone, researchers report.
The study by researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania combined pre-operative PET scans with a molecular imaging technique during surgery using a contrast dye that is taken up by tumors and makes them glow. The glowing tumors are then easier for surgeons to see and remove.

In the study, 50 lung cancer patients underwent PET scans 30 days or less prior to surgery to map the location of potentially cancerous nodules in the lungs. There were a total of 66 nodules identified on these scans as suspicious. During surgery, the surgeons used a technique called intraoperative molecular imaging or IMI, which uses an agent, called OTL38 that makes tumor cells glow. Prior research has shown that the agent can make visible malignant nodules as small as three millimeters. Three stacked dimes are about 3 mm high.

Results of the study showed that the IMI imaging found 60 of the 66 suspicious nodules identified on PET, but also identified an additional nine nodules undetected by PET scan, for a total of 75 nodules identified with PET and IMI. A total of 51 of the PET scan nodules were confirmed as cancer (68 percent). IMI accurately identified cancer in 68 nodules (91 percent).

The researchers will continue to follow these patients to see if these patients do better in terms of cancer recurrence and longer survival. They are also planning for a multi-center clinical trial that will be the first such trial of molecular imaging in the US.

Editor’s note: The agent used in the trial was supplied by OnTargetLaboratories, which makes OTL38.

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