New fluorescent nanoparticle technique may be a more precise cancer treatment

por Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | December 26, 2017
Rad Oncology
On par with FDA-approved
imaging systems
A new technique that involves fluorescent nanoparticles can guide tumor resection as well as kill any remaining cancer cells, according to research published in Theranostics.

"Microscopic tumors and positive surgical margins with residual cancer cells can be left behind and eventually lead to cancer relapse," Olena Taratula, corresponding author, told HCB News. "Therefore, there is an urgent need for improving visualization of non-palpable tumors and surgical margins in real time, during surgery."

The nanoparticles are loaded with a dye compound and injected intravenously or in the abdominal cavity. Once they reach the targeted site, the tumor's intracellular environment causes the compounds to fluoresce.

A near-infrared imaging system is then used to show the surgeons the regions that need to be removed. Any fluorescent areas that cannot be cut out are irradiated with a near-infrared laser that causes the nanoparticles to heat up and eliminate the remaining cancer cells.

Taratula and her research team at Oregon State University, which developed this technique, performed mice experiments to test it. They found that it's comparable to standard, FDA-approved imaging systems.

"The revealed properties of the activatable nanoplatform make it highly promising for further application in clinical image-guided surgery and combined phototherapy, facilitating a potential translation to clinical studies," according to the research abstract.

"Fluorescence-image guidance during surgery has high potential to improve treatment outcomes by visualizing cancer tissue demarcation in real time," said Taratula.

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