Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

’Virtual biopsy’ - A new way to look at cancer

30.05.2003


Scientists are using new imaging technology to help them perform "virtual biopsies," – biological profiles of specific tumors that may help predict a patient’s 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 tumor’s 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 Center’s 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 tumor’s size and shape, that information alone is not enough to help physicians plan and tailor some of the newest treatments. "It’s not what we see, but what we don’t that may be more important."


What X-rays don’t show, but what functional MRI does, says Knopp, includes biological processes like angiogenesis, or blood vessel growth surrounding a tumor. Using MRI and special contrast agents, Knopp is able to determine the permeability, or "leakiness" of the tumor’s support system. Early studies suggest the "leakier" the vessels, the more likely a patient will respond to treatment. "Functional MRI allows us to measure permeability; understanding that characteristic alone can help clinicians better manage the patient’s care," says Knopp.

Functional MRI can also reveal a tumor’s interior landscape, or it’s heterogeneity. Knopp says some tumors are extremely heterogeneous – meaning they are not biologically uniform. Instead, many may contain clusters of "hot spots," clumps of cells that are biologically different and often resistant to treatment. "Functional MRI can help us identify those areas, understand their particular features, and hopefully, design targeted therapies for those specific sites," says Knopp.

In functional MRI, images are made by measuring minute radio waves produced when hydrogen atoms in the body are trapped and vibrate within a magnetic field. The varying intensity of the signal reveals structural features and biological patterns illuminated by injected contrast agents.

"Analyzing data from those images can help us literally see where some chemotherapies are effective, and others are not. We know, for example, that in many cases, treatment with chemotherapy may kill 70 or 80 percent of a cancer, but the remaining tumor cells remain problematic. Now, we can find out exactly where those resistant areas are and we can be more selective and precise with additional treatment," says Knopp. (See http://www.jamesline.com/output/breastimages.htm for an illustration.)

While functional MRI offers new ways to visualize cancer at work, it presents several problems that need to be solved before it becomes routinely useful in clinical care. It is still so new that scientists have yet to agree on standard methodology they will use to visualize what they want to see. That makes comparing studies and findings across multiple centers difficult. In addition, one study alone can generate as many as 700-800 images that need to be synthesized and read collectively for a complete analysis – a process requiring substantial computational power and highly-trained specialists.

"It’s an emerging field, and we think we are just beginning to see what it can do," says Knopp.

Knopp reviewed functional MRI in oncology in an article in the April issue of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.


His research is supported by the National Cancer Institute,The Wright Center of Innovation and the Ohio Biomedical Research and Technology Transfer Fund.

Michelle Gailiun | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.osumedcenter.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Scientists track ovarian cancers to site of origin: Fallopian tubes
23.10.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Taming 'wild' electrons in graphene

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mountain glaciers shrinking across the West

23.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

Scientists track ovarian cancers to site of origin: Fallopian tubes

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>