Research published in the academic journal, Chemical Communications, reveals that this new compound could be used in a ‘chemically-sensitive MRI scan’ to help identify the extent of progression of diseases such as cancer, without the need for intrusive biopsies.
The researchers, who are part of an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded group developing new ways of imaging cancer, have created a chemical which contains fluorine. It could, in theory, be given to the patient by injection before an MRI scan. The fluorine responds differently according to the varying acidity in the body, so that tumours could be highlighted and appear in contrast or ‘light up’ on the resulting scan.
Professor David Parker of Durham University’s Department of Chemistry explained: “There is very little fluorine present naturally in the body so the signal from our compound stands out. When it is introduced in this form it acts differently depending on the acidity levels in a certain area, offering the potential to locate and highlight cancerous tissue.”
Professor Parker’s team is the first to design a version of a compound containing fluorine which enables measurements to be taken quickly enough and to be read at the right ‘frequency’ to have the potential to be used with existing MRI scanners, whilst being used at sufficiently low doses to be harmless to the patient.
Professor Parker continued: “We have taken an important first step towards the development of a selective new imaging method. However, we appreciate that there is a lot of work to do to take this laboratory work and put it into practice. In principle, this approach could be of considerable benefit in the diagnosis of diseases such as breast, liver or prostate cancer.”
Durham University has filed a patent on this new approach and is looking for commercial partners to help develop the research. Professor Parker and his team believe that molecules containing fluorine could be used in mainstream MRI diagnoses within the next decade.
Chris Hiley, Head of Policy and Research Management at The Prostate Cancer Charity, said: “This is interesting work. The researchers are still some way from testing how this new idea might work in people but they are dealing with a knotty and important problem. In prostate cancer in particular more research is needed into cancer imaging as current techniques need improving.
“This development could have applications in many other cancers too. Once transferred from the lab to the bedside this research has potential to help show exactly where cancer may be in the body. This would add certainty to treatment decisions and improve monitoring of cancer progress. Looking even further into the future it could even have some use in improving diagnosis.”
Media and Public Affairs Team | alfa
Visualizing gene expression with MRI
23.12.2016 | California Institute of Technology
Illuminating cancer: Researchers invent a pH threshold sensor to improve cancer surgery
21.12.2016 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
19.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation