Dog study validates Blaze 'tumor paint' for guiding surgery

Seattle's Blaze Bioscience has long believed that dogs with naturally occurring cancers could benefit from its experimental product, BLZ-100, which illuminates cancerous tissue so surgeons can more effectively remove it. Now the company has published evidence of that in a recent issue of the journal Cancer Research, which reports that BLZ-100 was successfully used during surgery in dogs with a variety of tumor types.

Blaze is primarily focused on developing BLZ-100, which it calls "tumor paint," for the human oncology market, but its success in dogs has made a world of difference for the company. Blaze completed the dog trial in 2014, which led to a $1.5 million Small Business Innovation Research Phase II award from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). That funding helped the company launch a clinical trial in people with soft tissue sarcomas.

The dog trial included several animals with soft tissue sarcomas that are similar to tumors commonly found in people. "This publication is an important validation of the Tumor Paint platform and Blaze's continued commitment to steadily advance our pipeline," said Julie Novak, Blaze's vice president of research, in a press release. The study was funded by the NCI and conducted at Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

BLZ-100 combines a fluorescent dye with a peptide that's present in the venom of the Israeli Deathstalker scorpion. The company is also testing the product in skin cancer, breast cancer and other tumor types.

Blaze, which was cofounded by Jim Olson of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, was able to point to the success of its tumor paint in dogs while gathering the seed funding it needed to start planning human trials. The company went on to raise $19 million in venture funding.

- here's the press release
- access an abstract of the Cancer Research study here