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'Tumor Paint' scorpion venom used in cancer treatment

WPEC.

When you think of scorpions, you probably don’t think of those creepy crawlers being used as a tool for cancer research.

In fact, the potentially deadly venom may soon revolutionize how cancer surgery is done.

Thanks to the clinical trials being funded by the Gateway For Cancer research located in Boca Raton.

Just two months after brain surgery, Hunter is a thriving three-year-old, thanks to a breakthrough treatment funded by a Gateway for Cancer Research Trial, called “Tumor Paint.”

“It really started with a group of brain surgeons who said to the lab scientists, “We need a better way to see tumors when we are doing surgery.”

Gateway Research Center President Teresa Barrels explains “Tumor Paint” is created by utilizing a protein derived from the paralyzing venom of an Israeli deathstalker scorpion.

“It is given to children before they have brain surgery,” explained Barrels. “Under something like a backlight the tumor molecules fluoresce, so they can see the tumor and any microscopic cells and remove those and only those.”

Right now, “Tumor Paint” is being used at Seattle children’s hospital, but the next phase will include 15 children’s hospitals across the country.

PNOC Institutions that have approved the BLZ-100 Clinical Trial:

  • Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Oregon Health Sciences University
  • University of California San Francisco
  • University of California Los Angeles
  • Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
  • Oakland Children’s
  • University of Utah
  • Rady Children’s San Diego
  • Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Children’s National Medical Center
  • Lurie Children’s Hospital Chicago
  • St. Louis Children’s Hospital
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • Dana Farber Boston Children’s Hospital

Gateway is now funding phase 1 and phase 2 of the “Tumor Paint” clinical trials in children.

Barrels said Hunter is inspiring their mission to find better treatments and cures for cancer, so more children do not have to face the same difficult struggles.

“It’s often those clinical trials that offer people a new option, the only option after they have tried other things,” said Barrels.

Gateway is holding its first Palm Beach event this Friday, March 17 at Mar-a-Lago where they will honor local philanthropist, Patrick Park for his considerable investments in cancer research.

For more information, click here.

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