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FDA  Approves Drug to help Surgeons Identify Ovarian Cancer Cells

Cytalux (pafolacianince), a drug that binds to Ovarian cancer tissue and glows when exposed to fluorescent light, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help surgeons detect Ovarian tumors during surgical procedures in patients.

A Purdue University spokesperson told Fox News that Philip Low, Purdue University’s Presidential Scholar for Drug Discovery, invented the drug. Low described in a press release that when a surgeon turns on the near-infrared light during the surgery, those lesions light up like stars against a night sky.

Many surgeries result in complete resection of all cancer tissue, a substantial fraction unfortunately leave buried or concealed tumor tissue behind, often resulting in recurrence of the cancer and sometimes even death. Low explained that cancer cells require folate, a B vitamin, to divide rapidly, so he invented the drug that tagged a folate compound with a fluorescent dye.The drug is administered intravenously to a patient before surgery.A spokesperson for the University of Pennsylvania Health System said that while Purdue’s Phil Low synthesized the drug, Researchers at the school were the principal investigators for the Phases 1, 2 and 3 of trials and found promising results.

Dr. Sunil Singhal, along with colleagues at the Center for Precision Surgery in the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania in partnership with On Target Laboratories, led one of the largest clinical trial sites in the country for Cytalux. The university researchers said this new technology provides surgeons with a guide that goes beyond what is seen with the naked eye or touch, especially when the lesions are small.

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