Improved MRI scanning of tumours



A new Rice University study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that socioemotional meanings, including sexual ones, are conveyed in human sweat. Denise Chen, assistant professor of psychology at Rice, looked at how the brains of female volunteers processed and encoded the smell of sexual sweat from men. The results of the experiment indicated

Full Post: Understanding human smell at the neural level

Researcher Kristina Djanashvili has developed a substance that enables doctors to get better MRI scans of tumours.

On Tuesday 13 January, Djanashvili will be awarded a doctorate by TU Delft for her work in this field.

The medical profession’s ability to trace and visualise tumours is increasing all the time. Detection and imaging techniques have improved enormously in recent years. One of the techniques that have come on by leaps and bounds is MRI. Patients who are going to have MRI scans are often injected with a ‘contrast agent’, which makes it easier to distinguish tumours from surrounding tissues. The quality of the resulting scan depends partly on the ability of this agent to ’search out’ the tumour and induce contrast.

Better images

At TU Delft, postgraduate researcher Kristina Djanashvili has developed a new contrast agent with enhanced tumour affinity and contrast induction characteristics. In principle, this means that cancers can be picked up sooner and visualised more accurately.

The new agent is a compound incorporating a lanthanide chelate and a phenylboronate group substance. The lanthanide chelate ensures a strong, clear MRI signal, while the phenylboronate group substance ’searches out’ cancerous tissue.

Water exchange

The lanthanide chelate influences the behaviour of water molecules, even inside the human body. It is ultimately the behaviour of the hydrogen nuclei in the water molecules that makes MRI possible and determines the quality of the image produced. The stronger the influence of the lanthanide chelate on the neighbouring hydrogen nuclei (the so-called water exchange) and the more hydrogen nuclei affected, the better the MRI signal obtained. Djanashvili has defined the methods for determining the water exchange parameters.

Sugar

Djanashvili has also provided her contrast agent with enhanced tumour-seeking properties by including a phenylboronate group substance. Phenylboronate has an affinity with certain sugary molecules that tend to concentrate on the surface of tumour cells. What makes the selected phenylboronate-containing agent special is its ability to chemically bond with the surface of a tumour cell.

Mice

Finally, Djanashvili has managed to incorporate the compound into so-called thermosensitive liposomes. A thermosensitive liposome forms a sort of protective ball, which opens (releasing the active compound) only when heated to roughly 42 degrees. This means that, by localised heating of a particular part of the body, it is possible to control where the compound is released. The positive results obtained from testing the new agent on mice open the way for further research.

http://www.english.tudelft.nl/

Link




European researchers have developed highly sensitive ultrasound equipment that can detect tiny quantities of reflective microbubbles engineered to stick to specific tumour cells. The technique should pick up tumours early and improve patients’ chances of survival. Most of the current diagnostic methods - biopsy analysis, biochemical tests and medical imaging - are not sufficiently sensitive.

Full Post: Sensitive ultrasound to spot early-stage cancer



A multidisciplinary team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed carbon nanotubes that can be used as sensors for cancer drugs and other DNA-damaging agents inside living cells. The sensors, made of carbon nanotubes wrapped in DNA, can detect chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin as well as environmental toxins and free radicals that

Full Post: Nanotubes sniff out cancer agents in living cells



MIT engineers have developed carbon nanotubes into sensors for cancer drugs and other DNA-damaging agents inside living cells. The sensors, made of carbon nanotubes wrapped in DNA, can detect chemotherapy drugs such as cisplatin as well as environmental toxins and free radicals that damage DNA. “We’ve made a sensor that can be placed in living

Full Post: Carbon nanotube sensors for cancer drugs



Radical improvements in outcome for many cancer sufferers are in prospect following one of the most significant advances in radiotherapy since x-rays were first used to treat a tumour in 1904. The use of charged particles as an alternative to x-ray or gamma ray radiation can extend the scope of radiotherapy to tumours previously requiring

Full Post: ESF workshop makes major advance in cancer radiotherapy



CANCER RESEARCH UK scientists have shown how bowel cancer can become aggressive, according to research published in Nature Genetics. The researchers, based in the Cardiff School of Biosciences, Cardiff University and at Cancer Research UK’s Beatson Institute in Glasgow found that a tumour suppressor protein called Pten is critical in stopping tumours from growing in

Full Post: Scientists find a trigger to aggressive bowel cancer