When surgeons remove a tumor, it can be hard to identify where the cancer cells start and end. This is especially crucial for brain tumors, where leaving behind part of a tumor - or cutting too far into the surrounding normal brain tissue - can have devastating consequences.
To overcome this problem, Dr. Jim Olson worked with researchers at Seattle Children’s and the University of Washington to develop the innovative ‘Tumor Paint’ - a drug that finds and attaches to tumor cells, illuminating them to show surgeons exactly where to cut. This experimental technique is currently in the middle of human clinical trials. To create Tumor Paint, Olson and his team identified a small protein in scorpion venom; the team then optimized this protein and attached a molecular flashlight to it.
In this activity we create the idea of Tumor Paint to get a visualization of how surgeons and patients can benefit.
* Idea Credit: Nancy Hutchinson (SEP)
The following file contains the instructions and materials needed for this project: