Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

Cancer surgeons strive to remove cancerous cells while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. Unfortunately, cancer cells are notoriously difficult to identify visually.

A group led by the National Cancer Institute’s Hisataka Kobayashi has developed a fluorescent spray that can label cancer cells within a minute. The hope is that surgeons could apply it during or after a procedure to catch any cancer cells they might have missed.

Several research teams have been working on fluorescent labels for cancer cells that could serve as a visual guide for surgeons, but other methods typically take much longer to work.

The researchers demonstrated the spray’s ability to label cancer cells in mice in a study published last week in Science Translational Medicine. The fluorescence is activated by an enzyme called y-glutamyl transpeptidase that is abundant in tumor cells but not in normal cells. The probe that Kobayashi and his team designed contains a chemical target of the tumor enzyme. The enzyme cleaves the chemical on contact, and this activates the fluorescence signal.

3 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credit: Science Translational Medicine

Tagged: Biomedicine, Materials

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me