News

How Scorpion Venom Is Helping Doctors Treat Cancer

How Scorpion Venom Is Helping Doctors Treat Cancer

Hunter Coffman was diagnosed with a brain tumor at Seattle Children’s when he was 2-years-old. While preparing for the surgery to remove the tumor, Hunter’s parents were also presented with the opportunity to enroll Hunter in Seattle Children’s Phase 1 trial of BLZ-100 Tumor Paint, a drug that scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington and startup Blaze Bioscience are using as a unique approach to performing brain surgery — fluorescent molecules, attached to naturally occurring toxins, including scorpion venom, that attach to the cancers and light them up. Dr. Amy Lee, the surgeon on Hunter’s case, described it as more of a tool, something extra she would use to aid the surgery, not a reinvention of the process. Inspired by its success, Dr. Jim Olson, who helped invent Tumor Paint, has imagined a host of other uses for similar technology, from targeting other cancers to Alzheimer’s treatment to arthritis, and is working quickly to make those uses a reality, too.

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s mission is to provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. Together, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Research Institute and Foundation deliver superior patient care, identify new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients.

Ranked as one of the top five children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho – the largest region of any children’s hospital in the country. As one of the nation's top five pediatric research centers, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is internationally recognized for its work in neurosciences, immunology, cancer, infectious disease, injury prevention and much more. Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation works with the Seattle Children’s Guild Association, the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care and research.

For more information, visit seattlechildrens.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or on our On the Pulse blog.