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 Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period
27.07.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Serious children’s infections also spreading in Switzerland
26.07.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

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: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>