A new magnetic imaging technique is being developed by Swedish researchers that utilises sugar to assess the malignancy of tumors in cancer patients.
The new imaging technique has been combined with the testing of natural sugar as a replacement for metal in contrast agents. The results showed that malignant tumors (cancerous cells) show higher sugar consumption than surrounding tissue.
‘If sugar replaces metal as a contrast agent in the body, it can also have a positive psychological effect and make cancer patients calmer.’
"If sugar replaces metal as a contrast agent in the body, it can also have a positive psychological effect and make patients calmer," said Linda Knutsson, lecturer at the Lund University in Sweden. Further, sugar-based contrast agents are cheaper than metal-based agents, leading to a reduction in medical care costs.
However, sugar-based contrast agents cannot be used in examinations of diabetic patients who may have cancer, the researchers explained in the study published in the journal Tomography
. The tests were carried out on three people with a brain tumor and four healthy people.
Scientists found that a tumor's properties can be examined by injecting a small amount of sugar into it, and then measuring how much sugar the tumor consumes. The more sugar the tumor consumes, the more malignant it is, they noticed.