Seattle researchers have developed a new technology that they say utilizes scorpion venom to help surgeons find and remove dangerous brain cancer cells.
The technology, called “tumor paint,” was developed by Dr. Jim Olson, a brain cancer specialist at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
The “tumor paint” is created by utilizing a protein derived from the paralyzing venom of an Israeli deathstalker scorpion. The re-engineered protein, which binds to cancer cells, is then joined with a fluorescent molecule “flashlight” that has been used safely in human surgeries for decades.
“The scorpion toxin finds the cancer cells and drags the flashlight into them and makes them glow brilliantly,” Olson said.