Posts Tagged ‘imaging’

Can Imaging Techniques Identify Early Metastasis in Lymph Nodes?

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015


A study published in Cancer Research concluded that a highly sensitive imaging technique for non-invasive screening of lymph nodes for metastatic cancer has been developed that offers a rapid tool for noninvasive identifying cancer spread at its earliest stages based upon testing in mice. The technique uses an imaging approach known as ultrasound-guided photoacoustics combined with nonosensors designed to target and identify metastatic cells in lymph nodes.

Over 90% of cancer deaths can be attributed to metastases directly or indirectly. Currently an invasive surgical procedure called sentinel lymph node (SLN) biopsy is used to identify the region and spread of tumors but the procedure has adverse side effects including pain, numbness and risk of infection. Noninvasive imaging modalities have been tested in animals and patients in order to improve the accuracy and safety of lymph node biopsies. Some imaging techniques such as position emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have shown some potential but lack the specificity and sensitivity to be effective. The new technique seems to be more accurate and have improved  sensitivity. Overall, the testing in mice showed a sensitivity of 100% and a specificity of 87% for detection of lymph nodes micrometases as small as 50 micrometers, which corresponds to about 30 metastatic cells. Detection of cells in small numbers in lymph nodes offers a system having the ability to identify metastasis very early in the process, which would allow early treatment. Although these are early studies in mice, the researchers are optimistic about translating the technology for use in humans and expanding the use of the system. More research is planned.

Can Molecule Imaging Improve Bladder Cancer Detection?

Friday, November 7th, 2014


New research published in Science Translational Medicine reported the development of a new strategy that they say could detect bladder cancer with more accuracy and sensitivity than standard endoscopy methods.  They identified a protein known as CD47 as a molecular imaging target to distinguish bladder cancer from benign tissue. Researchers said “Our motivation is to improve diagnosis of bladder cancer that can better differentiate cancer from noncancer, which is exceedingly challenging at times.  Molecular imaging offers the possibility of real-tie cancer detection at the molecular level during diagnostic cytoscopy and tumor resection.”

To improve specificity of imaging the researchers found CD47 that is a protein on a cell’s surface that signals the immune system not to attack the cell and most cells produce it. However, cancer cells make a lot more of it than normal cells. Previous research has shown that blocking the signal from the CD47 of cancer cells allowed the immune system to resume its attack against many types of cancer cells. They developed an anti-CD47 antibody that binds to the cancer cell’s surface and blocks the signal.

The current researchers hypothesized that if it was a good therapeutic target and its also expressed on the surface of the cancer cells, it might be a good imaging target. To test this the added a fluorescent molecule to an antibody that binds to CD47. The modified antibodies were then introduced into intact bladders surgically removed from patients with invasive bladder cancer. After 30 minutes they rinsed the bladder,so only the antibodies that bound to theCD47 protein remained. When the tumor was exposed to fluorescent light, the cancer cells “lit up” whereas normal or inflamed cells did not. They said this “will add to the existing technology and may help avoid unnecessary biopsies.”

New Prostate Cancer Detection Method is Less Invasive.

Friday, April 18th, 2014

logo1267406_mdProstate cancer detection is currently done by a biopsy that is painful and involves risks. A less invasive procedure was researched and presented at the European Assoiciation of Urology Congress in Stockholm this week that may reduce or eliminate the need for biopsies. The researchers developed a method to investigate whether and where men have prostate cancer using existing ultrasound scanners that create images in the body using sound waves. . Because ultrasound is unable to determine the difference between healthy and tumor tissue in images, researchers used thae fact that tumor tissue produces large numbers of small blood vessels that allow it to grow with a characteristic pattern., Patients are given a single injection of a contrast medium containing tiny bubbles, which are shown by the ultrasound scanner right down to the smallest blood vessels. Using advanced image-analysis techniques that can recognize the characteristic blood vessel pattern in tumors, the computer then generates an image that shows where the tumor is. The examination takes one minute and results are available within a few minutes.

Comparing the images with the prostate after removal by surgery of 24 patients  researchers found the images were a good indication of the location and size of the tumors. A comparison of the new and old procedures will be carried out next by the researchers.