Tumor Painting: Fighting Breast Cancer with Scorpion Venom

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Submitted by Omid Veiseh, Andrew. R. Bader, and Hok Hei Tam of the Anderson Laboratory at the Koch Insitute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT

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Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in the U.S. To help improve therapy we are using a component of scorpion venom, named chlorotoxin as way to facilitate specific delivery of therapeutic agents directly into the breast cancer cells. Chlorotoxin can recognize unique cell surface signatures of breast cancer cells and enters these cells carrying with it therapeutic payloads. Our goal is to improve the efficacy of drug delivery into cancer cells while reducing their side effects. In this image the chlorotoxin molecule is shown in magenta, the cell membrane in green, and the nuclei in blue.