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

A patient implanted with the Axonics System can undergo MRI examinations safely with radio frequency (RF) Transmit Body or Head Coil under the conditions outlined in the Axonics MRI Conditional Guidelines.

A patient implanted with the Axonics System can undergo MRI examinations safely with radio frequency (RF) Transmit Body or Head Coil under the conditions outlined in the Axonics MRI Conditional Guidelines.

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | July 02, 2020
July 2, 2020 — Axonics Modulation Technologies, Inc., a medical technology company that has developed and is commerci
This data represents wave 2 of a QuickPoLL survey conducted in partnership with an imagePRO panel created by The MarkeTech Group (TMTG), regarding the effects of COVID-19 on their business

Getty Images

Feature | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | July 01, 2020 | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Researchers reviewed results of prostate biopsies on over 3,400 men who had targets identified on prostate MRI and found that the positive predictive value of the test for prostate cancer was highly variable at different sites
News | Prostate Cancer | July 01, 2020
July 1, 2020 — Prostate MRI is an emerging technology used to identify and guide treatment for...
R2* maps of healthy control participants and participants with Alzheimer disease. R2* maps are windowed between 10 and 50 sec21. Differences in iron concentration in basal ganglia are too small to allow visual separation between patients with Alzheimer disease and control participants, and iron levels strongly depend on anatomic structure and subject age. Image courtesy of Radiological Society of North America

R2* maps of healthy control participants and participants with Alzheimer disease. R2* maps are windowed between 10 and 50 sec21. Differences in iron concentration in basal ganglia are too small to allow visual separation between patients with Alzheimer disease and control participants, and iron levels strongly depend on anatomic structure and subject age. Image courtesy of Radiological Society of North America

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | July 01, 2020
July 1, 2020 — Researchers using magnetic...
Cardiac MR can offer data above and beyond anatomical imaging, which is the main reason why this system was installed at Baylor Scott White Heart Hospital in Dallas. The system is a dedicated heart MRI scanner.

Cardiac MR can offer data above and beyond anatomical imaging, which is the main reason why this system was installed at Baylor Scott White Heart Hospital in Dallas. The system is a dedicated heart MRI scanner.

News | Pediatric Imaging | June 29, 2020
June 29, 2020 — A type of smart magnetic r...
This image of DCE-MRI reveals persistent blood brain barrier disorder in American football players. Using brain imaging techniques and analytical methods, researchers can determine whether football players have CTE by measuring leakage of the blood-brain barrier. Image courtesy of Ben-Gurion University

This image of DCE-MRI reveals persistent blood brain barrier disorder in American football players. Using brain imaging techniques and analytical methods, researchers can determine whether football players have CTE by measuring leakage of the blood-brain barrier. Image courtesy of Ben-Gurion University

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020 — Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease caused by repeated...
Axial FLAIR in four different COVID-19 patients. A) 58-year old man with impaired consciousness: FLAIR hyperintensities located in the left medial temporal lobe. B) 66-year old man with impaired consciousness: FLAIR ovoid hyperintense lesion located in the central part of the splenium of the corpus callosum. C) 71-year old woman with pathological wakefulness after sedation: extensive and confluent supratentorial white matter FLAIR hyperintensities (arrows). Association with leptomeningeal enhancement (stars

Axial FLAIR in four different COVID-19 patients. A) 58-year old man with impaired consciousness: FLAIR hyperintensities located in the left medial temporal lobe. B) 66-year old man with impaired consciousness: FLAIR ovoid hyperintense lesion located in the central part of the splenium of the corpus callosum. C) 71-year old woman with pathological wakefulness after sedation: extensive and confluent supratentorial white matter FLAIR hyperintensities (arrows). Association with leptomeningeal enhancement (stars) D) 61-year old man with confusion: hyperintense lesions involving both middle cerebellar peduncles. Image courtesy of the journal Radiology

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | June 16, 2020
June 16, 2020 — Current data on central nervous system (CNS) involvement in...
New software version for Vantage Orian 1.5T also offers cybersecurity solutions to protect patient data
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | June 15, 2020
June 15, 2020 — Hospitals and institutions are continually looking for ways to improve diagnostic imaging throughput,
Diffusion tractography uses the movement of water molecules to identify tracts that connect different parts of the brain. It can be used to pinpoint the part of the thalamus to treat with focused ultrasound. Image courtesy of UT Southwestern Medical Center

Diffusion tractography uses the movement of water molecules to identify tracts that connect different parts of the brain. It can be used to pinpoint the part of the thalamus to treat with focused ultrasound. Image courtesy of UT Southwestern Medical Center

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | June 15, 2020
June 15, 2020 — Recently developed magneti...