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
3-D visualization of the pancreas -- new tool in diabetes research
15.03.2017 | Umea University
New PET radiotracer identifies inflammation in life-threatening atherosclerosis
02.03.2017 | Society of Nuclear Medicine
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy