Dr. Sarah Leary, pediatric oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, completes trial of Tumor Paint
BLZ-100 in 28 children undergoing brain tumor removal surgery

Schaumburg, Ill.  (April 24, 2018)Gateway for Cancer Research (Gateway), a non-profit dedicated to funding transformational cancer research, announces the completion of a Phase I clinical project led by Dr. Sarah Leary, pediatric oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, which used a promising new discovery called “Tumor Paint” in children undergoing brain tumor surgery.

Tumor Paint (known as tozuleristide or BLZ-100) is a protein-linked dye based on the discovery of tumor-binding properties from the venom of the Israeli death stalker scorpion. The re-engineered protein, which seeks and enters into cancer cells, is joined with a fluorescent molecule to create a molecular "flashlight.” Administered intravenously before surgery, the "paint" lights up tumor tissue under near-infrared light. The aim of Tumor Paint is to allow neurosurgeons to precisely target and remove cancer cells, especially when there are areas of uncertainty, while helping to preserve healthy tissue.

With an $800,000 grant from Gateway, Dr. Leary’s clinical trial began in 2015 at Seattle Children’s Hospital, which has the largest pediatric Brain Tumor Program and the most pediatric neurosurgeons in the Pacific Northwest.

“Gateway is proud to announce the successful completion of Dr. Leary’s Phase I pediatric cancer clinical trial using Tumor Paint,” said Gateway President Teresa Hall Bartels. “We are dedicated to supporting early phase trials where the need is great for research funding, and breakthroughs are so crucial to help courageous patients fight cancer.”

The Gateway-supported trial at Seattle Children’s Hospital enrolled and treated 28 patients between the ages of 6 months and 19 years. Tumor Paint was found to be safe with no noticeable side effects in pediatric patients undergoing neurosurgical resection of brain and spinal cord tumors. Over 80% of pediatric tumors evaluated were found to be fluorescent using Tumor Paint. Phase l was completed with bridge work leading to Phase ll. This work includes the development of CANVAS imaging system, supported by the Norcliffe Foundation, which is a specialized camera which attaches to the end of the microscope that provides continuous near-infrared lighting for the surgeon throughout the operation.

Dr. Leary commented “Gateway’s focus on funding research that touches patients has been essential to accelerating our work. We were able to bring what we thought was a great idea in the laboratory all the way to children with brain tumors in record time, including facilitating the first use of the CANVAS imaging device in the world as part of our pediatric brain tumor trial.”

With Gateway's generous and continued support, Dr. Leary is working on the next phase of the Tumor Paint study via the Pacific Pediatric Neuro Oncology Consortium (PNOC), which is to include 15 leading pediatric brain tumor research institutions in the US and Canada. Ninety or more patients, with brain and spinal cord tumors, are expected to be enrolled at cancer centers around the country.

Gateway’s funding for other Phase I brain cancer trials includes the recently closed study for the treatment of recurrent glioblastoma (GBM) using CAR-T cell therapy led by renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Behnam Badie, MD at City of Hope and the Phase I clinical trial utilizing precision medicine to treat childhood progressive and recurrent low-grade gliomas led by Dr. Nathan Robison at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Through generous underwriting from Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, Gateway funds Phase I and Phase II clinical trials for all cancer types, and since its inception over 25 years ago has helped more than 4,000 patients around the world. More than 70% of trials progress to the next phase of research, and explore the latest, most promising treatments available. Gateway invests in next generation science – research that has strong potential for a significant breakthrough in patient-centered care.  With more than 80% of funded clinical trials including robust patient-centered outcomes, Gateway trials focus on healing the patient, while also treating the disease.


“Our mission instills a sense of urgency to accelerate the pace of cancer research,” said Teresa Hall Bartels, president, Gateway for Cancer Research. “Our dedication to investing in novel patient-centric approaches, combined with the increasing rate of treatment advances, leads us to believe that together we can conquer cancer in our lifetime.”

Gateway for Cancer Research℠ is a nonprofit 501C(3) organization committed to funding innovative cancer research that helps people living with cancer to feel better, live longer and conquer cancer TODAY! Thanks to generous underwriting, 99 cents of every dollar Gateway receives directly funds Phase I and Phase II cancer clinical trials at leading research institutions across the country and abroad. Since 1991, Gateway has supported more than 150 clinical trials and funded over $70 million in breakthrough cancer research. Get involved today by visiting, like us on Facebook at and join the conversation on Twitter at @DemandCures, #BeAGateway.


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