Apr 11, 2016

Conventional methods of cancer treatment have showed up with some promising results ever since their emergence. However, their mode and duration of action are highly variable among different patients.
Keeping this fact into consideration, scientists have come up with an innovative technique which makes use of imaging methods to observe the onset of working of anti-cancer medications.
The Cancer Research UK, Welcome Trust Strategic Award, and several other similar organizations are funding this trial which is being conducted by the scientists of Addenbroke’s Hospital (a member of the Cambridge University Hospitals) who have selected subjects for their study with a wide range of the disease.

imaging for cancer

 

Methods involved in the trial:

In this study, patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer are being tested with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) after being injected with pyruvate (a compound that breaks down glucose). Glucose is essential for the survival of cancer cells. Pyruvate is a highly sensitive non-radioactive compound that is elaborately detected by MRI. When it enters the blood stream, cancer cells break it down and this mechanism is what that gets captured during imaging. The activity of cancer cells in breaking down pyruvate actually helps the doctors in determining how efficaciously the treatment has casted its effects on the activity of cancer cells in the patient’s body.

Future uses of the trial:

By detecting the activity status of cancer cells in breaking down of pyruvate, estimates can be made regarding the quality of working of anti-cancer drugs in a patient’s body. Doctors can make use of this method to determine whether their choice of drug has started producing positive results in the patient’s body after a day or two of its intake. Moreover, if the use of MRI scanning for detecting cancer drug activity in the body goes successful, it can save some great deal of time and money regarding the treatment of a cancer patient, for it will then help in ruling out the medicines which are non-effective for them.

For a person affected with cancer, time becomes an essential feature. This is what Dr. Emma Smith, who is the science information manager at Cancer Research UK points out at.

Professor Kevin Brindle, who is a co-lead from Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute, says that this method will soon help in putting an end to the unnecessary trials of treatment that aren’t working for a cancer patient. He also says that every person affected with cancer has a disease of a different kind, and such an imaging technique that is used to keep a watch on the drug activity in a patient’s body shall help in customizing their treatment more quickly.

Dr Smith adds that collection and analysis of the results of MRI shall form the next stage of this trial, so as to determine whether this imaging technique can provide a beforehand picture of how good a drug works in destroying the tumor.

Reference:

Press Release, Cancer Research UK. Apr 11, 2016.

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