Cancer development can be detected early with the help of this new technique. This technique detects oxygen-deprived regions within tumors.
Cancer development is associated with the lack of oxygen, a condition known as hypoxia. Therefore, this technique uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to map regions of oxygen deprivation within tumors.
‘Oxygen-enhanced MRI could guide the targeting of dangerous tumors with high-dose radiotherapy and track the effectiveness of cancer treatments by monitoring oxygen’
By tracking the oxygen-deprived sites, the growth of tumors can be prevented or destroyed using high-dose radiotherapy. The test will also help track the effectiveness of cancer treatments by monitoring oxygen.
Oxygen-enhanced MRI works by monitoring changes in image intensity caused by concentrations of dissolved oxygen altering in blood plasma and tissue fluid. It is carried out while the patient inhales pure oxygen.
The technique has been developed by UK researchers and the clinical trials have been carried out in mice. The technology is now being further developed with clinical studies of cancer patients.
Study co-leader Dr Simon Robinson, from The Institute of Cancer Research in London, said, "Our technique uses MRI technology to detect tumors with areas of oxygen depletion, which tend to be more aggressive and more resistant to radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Our study provides strong pre-clinical evidence to validate the use of oxygen-enhanced MRI to identify, quantify and map tumor hypoxia."