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 Deep stimulation improves cognitive control by augmenting brain rhythms
04.04.2019 | Picower Institute at MIT

nachricht Black nanoparticles slow the growth of tumors
04.04.2019 | Technische Universität München

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: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

Im Focus: A long-distance relationship in femtoseconds

Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.

Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...

Im Focus: Researchers 3D print metamaterials with novel optical properties

Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna

A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

New automated biological-sample analysis systems to accelerate disease detection

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New eDNA technology used to quickly assess coral reefs

18.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>