At Seattle Children’s, we use nanotechnology to study molecules (small biological particles) that we can deliver to brain tumors to successfully diagnose and treat them.

Dr. Richard G. Ellenbogen and his colleagues at UW Medicine and Fred Hutch are studying ways to improve brain-imaging techniques to more clearly tell normal brain tissue from abnormal tumor tissue. One way is with a drug called Tumor Paint BLZ-100, which lights up cancer cells so neurosurgeons can remove tumor tissue more easily and thoroughly with less damage to healthy brain cells.

Laboratory research by Seattle Children’s scientists and doctors led to the development of Tumor Paint. The drug is now available at Seattle Children’s in a Phase I clinical trial for infants, children, adolescents and young adults who need brain tumor surgery. Read more.

Ellenbogen collaborates with other researchers at the University of Washington on laboratory studies to develop nanoparticles that target brain cancer cells and decrease the cells’ ability to repair damage caused by radiation therapy or chemotherapy. One day this work may lead to drugs that make radiation and chemotherapy more effective, perhaps at lower doses with fewer side effects.