When it comes to treatment options, scientists and doctors are always hunting for new and better tools — and thanks to research done at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center (UWCCC), soon we will be able to see a clearer distinction between unhealthy cancer cells and healthy benign cells.
UW-Madison’s medical physics program is one of the best in the country and has allowed the UWCCC to be at the forefront of combining expanding technology of imaging with innovative therapies for cancer. Cutting-edge technologies have allowed UWCCC teams to precisely pinpoint how tumors react to target therapies, giving patients the upper hand and a better chance at a healthy future. Throughout its history, the UWCCC has clear examples of success:
- Tomotherapy — combining linear accelerators with axial computer imaging
- Introduction of NM404 — a novel nuclear imaging agent which has unique diagnostic and therapeutic properties specific to malignant cells
- Functional tumor imaging — immediately assessing the intra- and extra-cellular effects of an innovative agent
- PET/CT — a technology that seamlessly helps physicians target tumors by fusing previously distinct pieces of information into one image
Recently a study featured on the cover of the journal Neurology, centered around locating and removing brain tumors. After fluorescent dye is injected intravenously into mice, it travels through the bloodstream and targets specific cancer cells, making them easier to see, easier to distinguish from healthy cells, and easier to safely remove. The team has proven that the dye can be tailored to identify more than 60 different types of cancer, which will hopefully improve treatment options when they are able to move on to human testing.
The discovery improves on technology that currently exists to treat cancer, and employs surgical microscopes that are commonly used throughout the world.