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Study Reveals Novel Lung Cancer Treatment
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Based on a new study, an old concept of re-treating lung tumors has come back into the fold, this time with modern technology on its side. The Comprehensive Cancer Center of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center is one of only several cancer centers that is trying to give lung cancer patients out of treatment options a chance to contain the cancer. For these patients, hope lies in a second round of treatment i.e. repeat radiation. Two complementary papers published ... Read more

Automated CT Dose-tracking Software Successfully …

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According to a recent study, dose-tracking software has provided an effective and easy monitoring of radiation dose exposure in a hectic academic environment. The study was conducted by the researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital. For ... Read more

CT in OR Allows for Higher Accuracy for Removal of …

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According to Raphael Bueno, MD, of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, a new method that brings CT imaging into the operating room will enable surgeons to specifically isolate and remove small sub-centimeter lung nodules, leaving as much healthy ... Read more


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According to recent findings, an image comparable in shape of a Swallow's tail has been identified as a new and accurate test for Parkinson's disease. The image, which depicts the healthy state of a group of cells in the sub-region of the human brain, was singled out using 3T MRI scanning technology, standard equipment in clinical settings today. The research was led by Dr Stefan Schwarz and Professor Dorothee Auer, experts in neuroradiology in the School of Medicine at The University of Nottingham and was carried out at the Queen's Medical Centre in collaboration with Dr Nin Bajaj, an expert in Movement Disorder Diseases at the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Their discoveries have since been published in the open access academic journal PLOS one. The work builds on a successful collaboration with Professor Penny Gowland at the Sir Peter Mansfield Magnetic Resonance Centre at The University of Nottingham. 'The 'Swallow Tail' Appearance of the Healthy Nigrosome, A New Accurate Test of Parkinson's Disease: A Case-Control and Retrospective Cross-Sectional MRI Study at 3T, explains how the nonexistence of this imaging sign can help to diagnose Parkinson's disease using standard clinical Magnetic Resonance Scanners. Parkinson's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder which destroys brain cells that control movement. Around 127,000 people in the UK have the disease. Currently there is no cure but drugs and treatments can be taken to manage the symptoms. Up until this point diagnosing Parkinson's in clinically uncertain cases has been limited due to costly nuclear medical methods. The diagnosis can be challenging early in the course of the condition and in tremor dominant cases. Other non-licensed diagnostic techniques offer a varying range of accuracy, repeatability and reliability but none of them have demonstrated the required accuracy and ease of use to allow translation into standard clinical practice. Using high resolution, ultra high filed 7T magnetic resonance imaging the Nottingham research team has already pinpointed the characteristic pathology of Parkinson's with structural change in a small area of the mid brain known as the substantia nigra. The latest study has shown that these changes can also be detected using 3T MRI technology which is accessible in hospitals across the country. They subsequently coined the phrase the 'swallow tail appearance' as an easy recognizable sign of the healthy appearing substantia nigra which is lost in Parkinson's disease. A total of 114 high-resolution scans were reviewed and in 94 per cent of cases the diagnosis was accurately made using this technique. "This is a breakthrough finding as currently Parkinson's disease is mostly diagnosed by identifying symptoms like stiffness and tremor. Imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis are limited to expensive nuclear medical techniques which are not widely available and associated with potentially harmful ionizing radiation.Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (no ionizing radiation involved and much cheaper than nuclear medical techniques) we identified a specific imaging feature which has great similarity to a tail of a swallow and therefore decided to call it the 'swallow tail sign'. This sign is absent in Parkinson's disease, said ... Read more

Detecting Risk for Heart Attack, Stroke Heightened by …

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Researchers from North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have recently developed an ultrasound device that could help identify arterial plaque that is at high risk of breaking off and causing a heart ... Read more

CT Measures Possible Hazardous Arterial Plaque in …

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Based on a new study, imaging of the coronary arteries with computed tomography (CT) angiography provides an accurate evaluation of arterial plaque and could have a significant effect on the management of diabetic patients who face a high risk of heart attacks and other adverse cardiovascular events. The study has since been published online in the journal Radiology. Plaque that forms in the arterial walls can confine blood flow and, in some cases, rupture, leading to possibly fatal heart attacks. There is substantial evidence that calcified, or stable, plaque, is less prone to rupture than non-calcified, or soft, plaque. Intravascular ultrasound can measure non-calcified and calcified coronary artery plaque, however it is invasive and incompatible for screening purposes, and coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring with CT, a common noninvasive option, has limitations. "Calcium scoring measures how much calcified plaque a person has, but it doesn't measure the component that's not calcified, and that's the component that tends to be dangerous," said Joo A. C. Lima, M.D., from the cardiology division at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md. Quantitative plaque analysis with coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA) has come into view as a feasible screening option. CCTA can capture the full anatomic map of the coronary arteries in a single heartbeat with low radiation dose. CCTA can offer a picture of the total amount of plaque throughout the arteries of the heart. Researchers from three centers: the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., Johns Hopkins, and the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City; recently worked in partnership to assess CCTA in 224 asymptomatic diabetic patients. "Obese people with diabetes have a propensity for extensive and premature development of coronary artery plaque, making them an ideal study group for plaque assessment," they noted. The researchers employed measurements of coronary artery wall volume and length to determine a coronary plaque volume index (PVI) for each patient. The method provided information well beyond the presence or absence of coronary stenosis, or narrowing. PVI was linked to age, male gender, body mass index (BMI) and duration of diabetes. Younger individuals with a shorter duration of diabetes had a greater percentage of soft plaque. "Coronary plaque volume index by CCTA is not only clinically feasible and reproducible in patients with diabetes. It provides a more complete picture of the coronary arteries that could be routinely applied in at-risk patients " said David A. Bluemke, M.D., Ph.D., from the NIH Clinical Center. "These findings represent a very important step in the ability to quantify plaque, particularly non-calcified plaque," added Lima. BMI, a measure of body fat based on weight and height, was the principal modifiable risk factor connected to total and soft coronary plaque as determined by CCTA. "The results reinforce how important it is to evaluate BMI as a potential driver of overall diabetes. As the only modifiable risk factor, obesity is an important target for managing diabetic patients," said Bluemke. Only about one-third of the coronary plaque in patients showed calcification, underscoring the widespread presence of non-calcified plaque. The ability to distinguish between calcified and non-calcified plaque is important because treatment may vary based on plaque composition. "People with soft plaque respond better to interventions, particularly medical therapy like statins," said Lima. The researchers will press on monitoring the patients from the study to better understand the worth of coronary artery plaque evaluation in predicting future adverse cardiovascular events and to further highlight and define the role of plaque volume index versus CAC score. A clinical trial would be required to determine if risk factor reduction would result in reduced PVI. "Now that we have baseline indices of plaque in the study patients, we can look for people who, despite optimal management, experience a cardiovascular disease event like a heart attack," Bluemke noted. CCTA is likely to be valuable for other groups of patients at high risk for cardiovascular events, the researchers said, and may one day enable physicians to predict plaque development and treat it aggressively before PVI increases ... Read more

Cutting-edge MRI Scan makes Milestone Discovery for …

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According to a recent study, the very first MRI scan to show 'brown fat' in a living adult could prove to be a crucial step towards a new assortment of therapies to supplement the fight against diabetes and obesity. Researchers from Warwick ... Read more

RT for Cervical Cancer may lead to Increased Risk for …

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Based on recent discoveries, researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston are the first to recommend that young women treated with radiation for cervical cancer should begin colorectal cancer screening earlier than ... Read more

Novel Nano Particle Developed for Cancer Therapy…

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A University of Texas at Arlington physicist working to create a luminous nanoparticle to apply in security-related radiation detection may have instead fell upon an advance in photodynamic cancer therapy. Professor of physics and co-director of UT Arlington's Center for Security Advances Via Applied Nanotechnology, Wei Chen , was testing a copper-cysteamine complex created in his lab when he found unexplained decreases in its luminescence, or light emitting power, over a time-lapse exposure to X-rays. Delving deeper into the matter, he discovered that the nanoparticles, called Cu-Cy, were losing energy as they released singlet oxygen, a toxic byproduct that is used to damage cancer cells in photodynamic therapy. Because Chen also is leading federally funded cancer research, he knew he had discovered something extraordinary. Testing showed that the Cu-Cy nanoparticles, in combination with X-ray exposure, drastically slowed tumor growth in lab studies. "This new idea is simpler and better than previous photodynamic therapy methods. You don't need as many steps. This material alone can do the job. It is the most promising thing we have found in these cancer studies and we've been looking at this for a long time," said Chen. Chen's research is set to be published in the August edition of the Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnologyunder the title "A New X-Ray Activated Nanoparticle Photosensitizer for Cancer Treatment." Co-authors are Lun Ma, a research assistant professor, and Xiaoju Zou, a research associate. The University has also filed an interim copyright application on the new endeavor. Photodynamic therapy, or PDT, hurts cancer cells when a photosensitizer introduced into tumor tissue generates toxic singlet oxygen after being exposed to light. In some studies, this light exposure is performed via use of visible or near-infrared lasers. Other studies have found additional success by also introducing luminescent nanoparticles into the tumor. Researchers activate the luminescent nanoparticle with near-infrared light or X-rays, which in turn activates the photosensitizer. Both techniques have their disadvantages for treating deep tissue cancers. They are either inept or the light source needed to activate them doesn't penetrate deep enough. Chen notes that X-ray inducible Cu-Cy particles are far superior to current photosensitizers because the X-rays can penetrate deep into tissue. Additionally, Cu-Cy nanoparticles don't need other photosensitizes to be effective so the treatment is more convenient, efficient and cost-effective. "Dr. Chen's commitment to his work in cancer-related therapy, as well as his work in the area of homeland security, demonstrates the wide-ranging applications and great value of basic science research. These advances have the potential to change the way some cancers are treated and make therapy more effective - a benefit that would be boundless," said vice president for research at UT Arlington, Carolyn Cason. Chen's team tested the Cu-Cy on human breast and prostate cancer cells in the lab and found it to be a useful and effective treatment when combined with X-ray exposure. In one test, for instance, a tumor treated with Cu-Cy injection and X-ray exposure stayed virtually the same size over a 13-day period while a tumor without the full treatment grew by three times. Another benefit of the new nanoparticle is a low toxicity to healthy cells. Furthermore, Cu-Cy's intense photoluminescence and X-ray luminescence can be used for cell imaging, according to the paper. Details of the crystal structure and optical properties of the new complex are being published in an upcoming paper from the Journal of Materials Chemistry. Chen continues to pursue photodynamic cancer therapy research under a grant from the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs and with collaborations from industry. He said further research would include reducing the size of the Cu-Cy nanoparticle to make it more easily absorbed in the tumor tissue. "For cancer, there is still no good solution yet. Hopefully this nanoparticle can provide some possibilities," he ... Read more

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