Inventor of ‘tumor paint’ speaks at UAA

Pediatric oncologist James Olson gives keynote at UAA’s undergraduate research event

April 13, 2016

Learn about innovative cancer research from the developer of “tumor paint,” Dr. James Olson, during his free talk April 14 at the University of Alaska Anchorage.

For more than a decade Olson has worked with teams at Seattle Children's Hospital and the University of Washington to develop innovative "tumor paint" — a drug that finds and attaches to tumor cells, illuminating them to show surgeons exactly where to cut.

The experimental drug, which was developed from scorpion venom, is in clinical trials. Olson said surgeons’ current practice is to use sight and touch to distinguish cancer from the normal brain. Tumor paint helps surgeons find and remove an entire tumor without damaging healthy brain cells.

Olson has devoted his scientific and medical career to discovering and advancing new therapies for children with brain cancer. As a pediatric oncologist, Olson cares for children with brain tumors and leads a brain tumor research laboratory at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

Olson’s free talk, “Natural Blueprints for a New Type of Drugs,” starts at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 14 in UAA’s Wendy Williamson Auditorium. The public lecture is part of UAA’s Undergraduate Research and Discovery Symposium, an annual event that celebrates original scholarship by more than 100 UAA undergraduates through presentations, displays and performances.

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