see2cure, the startup betting on fluorescence to guide abdominal cancer surgery

Born from a scientific collaboration between the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology (IPBS – CNRS/UT3) and the University Cancer Institute of Toulouse (IUCT-Oncopole), the startup see2cure aims to enhance the quality of surgery by offering specific guidance revealed through fluorescence. Assisting the surgeon during the procedure, improving patient care, and preventing recurrences are the challenges it has set for itself to address the specific issues of certain cancer pathologies.

From left to right: Laurent Paquereau (CSO), Mathilde Coustets (CEO), Gwenaël Ferron (CMO)

When gastrointestinal or gynecological cancers reach an advanced stage, tumor cells detach from the primary tumor and spread to invade the abdominal cavity. This results in the formation of secondary tumors or even a generalized abdominal cancer, known as peritoneal carcinomatosis.

To combat these conditions, a combination of surgery and chemotherapy is required. The prognosis for patients varies greatly and depends on the quality of the surgical procedure. Accessing secondary tumors is not always straightforward as they may be non-vascularized, thus out of reach of chemotherapies, and invisible to the naked eye, making them undetectable during surgery.

Specific detection of microscopic mesenteric tumor nodules (green) by a protein coupled to a near-infrared fluorescent molecule (red). Fluorescence macroscopy image (left panel) and confocal microscopy image on histological section (right panel).

It was in this context that the startup see2cure was conceived. Professor Laurent Paquereau from the University of Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier, at the IPBS, has been developing a protein for several years that enables molecular targeting of cancer cells originating from epithelial tissues, which cover all body surfaces, body cavities, and hollow organs. Dr. Gwenaël Ferron, an oncological surgeon at the IUCT-Oncopole, has outlined the clinical requirements that surgeons face in abdominal cancer pathologies. Finally, Mathilde Coustets, a doctor in biotechnologies at the IPBS, demonstrated during her thesis and post-doctorate the ability to use this protein to detect microscopic tumor foci, invisible to the naked eye, with extreme sensitivity.

All three decided to co-found see2cure with the goal of bringing the protein to human clinical use as a diagnostic probe for fluorescence-guided surgery. This technique ensures the detection of cancerous foci, allowing surgeons to completely remove them. It also directly impacts the detached tumor cells during surgery by inhibiting their reimplantation and thus promoting their elimination.

The startup see2cure will begin by conducting the regulatory toxicology of its fluorescent diagnostic probe, aiming to launch the first human trials at the IUCT-Oncopole by 2027.

Contact see2cure
Mathilde Coustets
CEO of see2cure
Tel. +33 (0)6 80 04 60 70

Contact IPBS: Laurent
Contact IUCT:

Press Contact
Valentin Euvrard
Scientific Communication Officer
University of Toulouse III – Paul Sabatier

Tel. +33 (0)5 61 55 76 03

see2cure, the startup betting on fluorescence to guide abdominal cancer surgery