JUL 01, 2020 6:27 AM PDT

Surgeons use glowing dye in dogs to improve mammary cancer excision practices

A glowing dye could help surgeons leave better “clean margins” during cancer excisions, allowing them to make sure that they haven’t left any cancerous tissue behind that could potentially propagate and increase the chance of a local recurrence. 

The dye, which was developed by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, glows under near-infrared light and preferentially accumulates in cancer cells. The researchers tested it while removing mammary tumors from dogs treated at the School of Veterinary Medicine's Ryan Hospital and their findings were reported in the journal PLOS ONE.

"Doing this kind of research has two main benefits," says senior author David Holt, who is a veterinary surgeon. "The dogs are a great model for human breast cancer, but there are also some real opportunities to benefit the dogs as well."

The research aims to inform other investigations on the topic of surgery for human patients with breast cancer. Because mammary cancer in dogs is similar to human breast cancer, the dogs, all of whom were previously diagnosed with mammary cancer and whose owners gave consent to participate in the research, provided an ideal opportunity.  

Using the FDA-approved contrast agent indocyanine green (ICG), the veterinarians found that during the lumpectomy and mastectomy surgeries, the technique was able to illuminate not only the tumors but also cancer that had metastasized to the lymph nodes. 

"In women with breast cancer and also in dogs with mammary cancer," Holt says, "it's prognostic if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. What we showed was that we could identify both draining lymph nodes and lymph nodes with metastatic disease."

"If we could give an injection before the surgery that would identify just the lymph nodes that are potentially problematic, it would avoid a lot of the risk of either removing too many lymph nodes or leaving in those that have metastatic disease," says Holt.

Source: Pixabay

But Holt and his colleagues at Penn Medicine aren’t stopping there. They continue to investigate how targeted near-infrared imaging agents can help cancer patients, both human and canine, focusing their work on agents that bind more specifically to cancer cells. 

Sources: PLOS One, Eureka Alert

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JUN 10, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Does Lithium Prevent Colon Cancer?
JUN 10, 2021
Does Lithium Prevent Colon Cancer?
Researchers found that a drug used in the treatment of mental illness can promote the fitness of healthy gut stem cells, ...
JUN 14, 2021
Health & Medicine
Another Benefit of Aspirin: Decreased Colorectal Cancer Risk When Started Early
JUN 14, 2021
Another Benefit of Aspirin: Decreased Colorectal Cancer Risk When Started Early
Valued for stroke and heart attack prevention, aspirin is also recommended for colorectal cancer prevention. A Harv ...
JUN 14, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Can An Omega-3 Fatty Acid Destroy Tumors?
JUN 14, 2021
Can An Omega-3 Fatty Acid Destroy Tumors?
The body needs fatty acts for a variety of functions, and the health benefits of taking fatty acid supplements have long ...
JUL 08, 2021
Cancer
Activating p53 May Boost Efficacy of Cancer Immunotherapy
JUL 08, 2021
Activating p53 May Boost Efficacy of Cancer Immunotherapy
Pharmacological activation of the p53 protein in cancer cells leads to an anti-tumor immune response in lab tests. These ...
SEP 23, 2021
Immunology
Enhanced Hamster Cells as Super Drug Factories
SEP 23, 2021
Enhanced Hamster Cells as Super Drug Factories
Antibodies are highly specialized proteins produced by the immune system that stick on to foreign invaders in the body w ...
OCT 12, 2021
Immunology
Cancer Drug Helps Alzheimer's Mice Remember
OCT 12, 2021
Cancer Drug Helps Alzheimer's Mice Remember
What if a drug—specifically developed to treat one disease—had the potential to address other non-related co ...
Loading Comments...