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Author: csayre Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 53806  
Subject: Showing Doctors where cancer is Date: 11/18/2013 10:33 AM
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I read this piece on CNN this weekend:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/14/health/tumor-paint-jim-olson/

I'm amazed that no one thought of this before. For the TL;DR crowd, what they did was take a short piece of protein (a peptide) that tends to stick to cancer cells while ignoring "normal" cells and link a fluorescent dye to it.

The result? Inject the "paint" into the body, wait a bit, and in a short time, the cancer cells/tumors glow in the right light, showing them EXACTLY what needs to be cut away.

My wife had breast cancer in 2001. She had surgery on 9/11, but that's a whole 'nother story. She had to keep going back for surgery because they weren't getting "clean margins," which is doctor speak for, "We didn't cut away all of the tumor; there's part of it left."

She's been cancer free since, but I always thought this was a hamhanded way to treat cancer. Much like cutting away the lymph system to check to see if it's been "infected." There was too much cutting and not enough checking. I kept thinking, "Measure twice, cut once."

But I think of how much time, money, and repeat surgeries this stuff could save.

It's still in its infancy, and I imagine a lot of testing will have to be done to make sure people don't have allergic reactions to the peptide (think shellfish, peanut, or latex allergies) and that the peptide doesn't tag healthy cells. So far, it's been shown to be selective for not only brain tumors, but breast, prostate, skin, and colon cancers.

But still, to me, the simplicity of this and the elegance of the solution is just fantastic. I hope this technology makes it to mainstream cancer treatment one day.
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