Scientists are using new imaging technology to help them perform "virtual biopsies," – biological profiles of specific tumors that may help predict a patients response to treatment and probability of long-term survival. This whole new realm of imaging is called functional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), a process that offers insight into a tumors character, not just its superficial structure.
In these images of the breast, the lighter and brighter the color, the more aggressive the tumor and the greater the growth of angiogenesis, or the blood vessel growth around them. Functional MRI reveals small islands of the tumor that are resistant to chemotherapy
Using functional MRI, Dr. Michael Knopp, a radiologist and a member of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Centers Experimental Therapeutics Program, is studying breast, prostate, pancreatic tumors and others to see if some of their particular biological quirks are related to response to treatment and survival.
Knopp says while X-rays can reveal information about a tumors size and shape, that information alone is not enough to help physicians plan and tailor some of the newest treatments. "Its not what we see, but what we dont that may be more important."
Michelle Gailiun | EurekAlert!
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