Invasive Tissue Biopsies to Be Replaced By New Imaging Technique for Cancer Treatment

Posted On October 17, 2020     

The requirement for invasive tissue biopsies is to be replaced by imaging techniques that would further help determine if cancer treatments are working efficaciously, as stated by the researchers at the University of Cambridge. Cell proliferation is a firmly controlled process in a healthy tissue. When this process goes inexact, it leads to unchecked growth and, as a result, the development of tumours.

New Imaging Technique and Its Advantage over the Traditional Invasive Tissue Biopsies

Lactate, produced during the process of metabolism, is necessary for generating energy which tends to be the building blocks for creating new cells. This process of metabolism is different in the case of tumour cells as they often tend to produce more amount of lactate. A protein called FOXM1 affects the metabolic pathway and also controls the production of an enzyme that makes lactate from pyruvate. FOXM1 also regulates the production of several other proteins required in cell proliferation and growth.

Due to the advancements in cancer treatments, the medicines are working more effectively, as stated by Dr Susana Ros, a researcher from the Cambridge Institute. She further explained that all drugs might not work for every case, as some tumours are known to be resistant to specific drugs. Biomarkers or biological signatures are the need of the hour as they clarify whether a drug is properly working or not.

Breast cancer cells are taken from the patients, and the tumours are further studied in detail by the researchers. Furthermore, an invasive tissue biopsy is required to check if a tumour is consistently producing FOXM1. However, a new imaging technique has been developed by the researchers to monitor this non-invasively and in real-time.

This technique invented by the team is called as hyperpolarisation. Firstly, a form of pyruvate is produced by the team whose carbon atoms tend to be slightly bulkier than the standard carbon atoms. The pyruvate is then magnetised or hyperpolarised by the researchers and an injectable solution is formed. The solution is injected to the patients who go on to receive an MRI scan. The scan is studied by the researchers to see the rate at which pyruvate converts into lactate, which only the constant existence of FOXM1 would allow, and that denotes the working of drugs properly.

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