Feature | July 10, 2013

Sugar Makes Cancer Light-up in MRI Scanners

glucoCEST University College London Tumors MRI glucose

UCL scientists have developed a new technique for detecting the uptake of sugar in tumors, using magnetic resonance imaging.

Tumors use large quantities of glucose to sustain their growth. By injecting normal, unlabeled sugar, UCL scientists have developed a way to detect its accumulation in tumors.

July 10, 2013 — A new technique for detecting cancer by imaging the consumption of sugar with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been unveiled by University College London (UCL) scientists. The breakthrough could provide a safer and simpler alternative to standard radioactive techniques and enable radiologists to image tumors in greater detail.

The new technique, called glucose chemical exchange saturation transfer (glucoCEST), is based on the fact that tumors consume much more glucose (a type of sugar) than normal, healthy tissues in order to sustain their growth.

The researchers found that sensitizing an MRI scanner to glucose uptake caused tumors to appear as bright images on MRI scans of mice.

Lead researcher Dr. Simon Walker-Samuel, from the UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging (CABI) said: "GlucoCEST uses radio waves to magnetically label glucose in the body. This can then be detected in tumors using conventional MRI techniques. The method uses an injection of normal sugar and could offer a cheap, safe alternative to existing methods for detecting tumors, which require the injection of radioactive material." Professor Mark Lythgoe, director of CABI and a senior author on the study, said: "We can detect cancer using the same sugar content found in half a standard sized chocolate bar. Our research reveals a useful and cost-effective method for imaging cancers using MRI — a standard imaging technology available in many large hospitals."

He continued: "In the future, patients could potentially be scanned in local hospitals, rather than being referred to specialist medical centers." The study is published in the journal Nature Medicine and trials are now underway to detect glucose in human cancers.

According to UCL's Professor Xavier Golay, another senior author on the study: "Our cross-disciplinary research could allow vulnerable patient groups such as pregnant women and young children to be scanned more regularly, without the risks associated with a dose of radiation." Walker-Samuel added: "We have developed a new state-of-the-art imaging technique to visualize and map the location of tumors that will hopefully enable us to assess the efficacy of novel cancer therapies."           

For more information: www.ucl.ac.uk

Related Content

Siemens Healthineers Launches New Partners for Digital Ecosystem at HIMSS 2018
News | PACS Accessories | March 12, 2018
At the 2018 Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Annual Conference and Exhibition, March 5-9...
Alternative Technique Can Improve Brain Imaging for Restless Children
News | Pediatric Imaging | March 08, 2018
March 8, 2018 – Children often find it difficult to remain still for...
The yellow in the anterolateral entorhinal cortex of the young brain indicates significant activity, something that is absent in the older brain.

This figure shows two different brains that are aligned to a common template space for comparison. The yellow in the anterolateral entorhinal cortex of the young brain indicates significant activity, something that is absent in the older brain. CREDIT: Zachariah Reagh

News | Nuclear Imaging | March 08, 2018
As we get older, it's not uncommon to experience "senior moments," in which we forget where we parked our car or call...
Imaging Plays Key Role in Evaluating Injuries at Olympics
News | Orthopedic Imaging | February 28, 2018
The Olympic Games give elite athletes a chance at athletic triumph, but also carry a risk of injury. When injuries...
FDA Clears Siemens Healthineers' GOKnee3D MRI Application
Technology | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | February 19, 2018
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared GOKnee3D, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) application from...
A brain MRI. Gadolinium contrast agents (GBCAs) are partly retained in the brain, raising safety concerns.
Feature | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | February 16, 2018 | Dave Fornell
One of the biggest concerns in radiology in recent years is the safety of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) us
Arterys Receives First FDA Clearance for Oncology Imaging Suite With Deep Learning
Technology | Artificial Intelligence | February 15, 2018
Arterys Inc. announced its fifth 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the Arterys...
AHRA and Canon Medical Systems Announce 2017 Putting Patients First Grant Winners
News | Patient Engagement | February 14, 2018
The Association for Medical Imaging Management (AHRA) and Canon Medical Systems recently announced the tenth annual...
Videos | Pediatric Imaging | February 14, 2018
ITN Associate Editor Jeff Zagoudis demonstrates several mobile apps designed to help pediatric patients learn what an
Vantage Galan 3T XGO Edition MRI system was cleared by the FDA.
Technology | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | February 12, 2018
February 12, 2018 — Physicians now have access to more neuro and cardiac...
Overlay Init