French oncologist SurgiMab has started a first-in-human phase I study for its molecule SGM-101 launched at the Montpellier Cancer Institute. SurgiMab is developing antibody-fluorochrome conjugates to be used as in vivo diagnostic agents in oncology.

SGM-101 is a fluorescent conjugate that consists on a tumor-specific monoclonal antibody and a near-infrared emitting fluorochrome. Thanks to this conjugate, oncology surgeons will have an intraoperative imaging tool that will allow them to visualize tumors overexpressing carcinoembryonic antigen. As a first indication, SGM-101 is being tested for real-time visualization of infra-clinical size tumors.

Currently, surgeons only rely on visual appearance and palpation to discriminate between tumor and normal tissue, which can lead to either incomplete resection of malignant tissue or unnecessary removal of healthy tissue. Since complete extirpation is a crucial factor in the prognosis of a patient, intraoperative imaging technologies are currently being studied.

The development of real-time image-guided surgery is then key to effectively delineate the margins of the operation and detect microscopic tumors to improve long-term outcomes.

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