Unique Oral Cancer Study at Guy’s

HNCF Director and surgeon Professor Mark McGurk is conducting a unique study at Guy’s Hospital in London that has not been carried out anywhere else in the world for the treatment of oral cancer.  The study consists of an exclusively engineered molecule with a fluorescent tag, which is then injected in the patient’s arm so that the molecule can travel through the patient’s blood stream and then attach itself on the receptors that are expressed by the cancer cells.

The molecule has previously been used by a Dutch medical team on bowel cancer patients, with promising results. Guy’s hospital is extending the molecule’s use by carrying out 20 cases in oral cancer, to see if the results are applicable in this field of oncology also.

Mr Smith (photographed), a mouth cancer sufferer, is the second in a series of patients taking part in this trial. Essentially, the molecule is drawn to the tumour and fluoresces it, which, in turn, will allow surgeons to locate it more efficiently, thus minimising the amount of healthy tissue that is damaged in order to extract the malignant growth.

We are still unsure as to whether this molecule will fulfil its objective, but it’s the first in an array of new chemicals that can be used to minimise the surgical impact associated with conventional oral cancer surgery.