With the help of a new imaging technique, scientists have found a way to measure aggressiveness and growth of prostate cancer tumors in real time.
Researchers say being able to watch the metabolic activity of tumors could revolutionize how prostate cancer is treated. The imaging technique can 'see' tumors grow and how they respond to treatment.
This is the first time researchers have used this technology to conduct real-time metabolic imaging in a human patient.
The initial results validate extensive preclinical research that has linked the speed at which tumors metabolize nutrients to the aggressiveness of their growth.
The new imaging technique also has been used to show early biochemical changes in animal tumors in real time as they respond to medication therapy, long before a physical change occurs.
So far, the technology has produced the same response in human patients' tumors as it did in laboratory studies, even at the lowest dose, according to Sarah Nelson, a professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and a member of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) at UCSF.
"This is a key milestone that could dramatically change clinical treatment for prostate cancer and many other tumors," Nelson said. "We had shown this worked in animal models and tissues samples. Now, in men, we are seeing exactly the type of results we had hoped for."
The study has been presented at the Radiology Society of North America's weeklong annual conference.