Sugar Used to Detect Cancer in MRI Scanners

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According to a new study published in the journal Nature Medicine, researchers have discovered a groundbreaking method for detecting cancer by use of imaging sugar with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).sugar mri cancer

This new development could help lead to a safer and easier option to traditional radioactive procedures and allow radiologists to view images of tumors in greater, larger detail.

The new practice, called 'glucose chemical exchange saturation transfer' (glucoCEST), is predicated on the fact that tumors tend to consumer more glucose, which is a type of sugar, than regular healthy tissues, in order to maintain their progressive growth.

The research team found that sensitizing an MRI scanner to glucose uptake caused the tumors to appear as bright spots on MRI scans of mice.

“GlucoCEST uses radio waves to magnetically label glucose in the body,” said Lead researcher from the UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging (CABI), Dr. Simon Walker-Samuel.

In addition, Walker-Samuel also notes that this new method can then be detected in tumors by utilizing traditional MRI procedures.

“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,” he said.

Director of CABI and a senior author on the study, Professor Mark Lythgoe also points out that glucoCEST can detect cancer by using the very same sugar content found in a half sized bar of chocolate.

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