Surgery to remove tumors has always been a delicate undertaking. Surgeons must try to remove all of the cancerous cells while minimizing the loss of surrounding tissue, a task made harder by the fact that it’s difficult to tell the difference just by looking. No longer: Scientists have found a way to make tumors glow green, the Economist reports.
The fluorescence trick itself netted its developers a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2008, but they needed to adapt it to illuminate only the cancerous cells. That done, doctors have deployed the dye in mice, and found a fivefold increase in survival rates among those given the glow. Better yet, the dye could be used in MRIs to identify undiscovered tumors.