MRI scan used for heart dis­ease could also pick out ag­gres­sive can­cers

Iran Daily - - Health & Wellness -

A type of smart MRI scan used in peo­ple with heart dis­ease could help as­sess whether chil­dren’s can­cers are es­pe­cially ag­gres­sive and spot early signs that tar­geted treat­ments are work­ing, a new study sug­gested.

Re­searchers showed that the MRI imag­ing tech­nique, known as T1-map­ping, could of­fer cru­cial in­sights into the bi­ol­ogy of child­hood can­cers and give an early warn­ing of how ef­fec­tive tar­geted treat­ments were likely to be, med­i­calx­press.com re­ported.

T1 map­ping scans mea­sure how wa­ter mol­e­cules in­ter­act at a mi­cro­scopic level inside cells to un­der­stand the cel­lu­lar makeup of tis­sue, and are used in heart dis­ease to as­sess dam­age to heart mus­cle tis­sue.

Now sci­en­tists at The In­sti­tute of Can­cer Re­search, London, have shown that the non-in­va­sive scan­ning tech­nique has the po­ten­tial to pick out chil­dren with high-risk forms of neu­rob­las­toma, a type of child­hood tu­mor.

The re­searchers be­lieve T1 map­ping scans could im­prove the use of pre­ci­sion medicine in chil­dren with neu­rob­las­toma and po­ten­tially in can­cer pa­tients more widely, by en­sur­ing treat­ments are tai­lored for each pa­tient, and rapidly stopped when they are not work­ing.

The study was pub­lished in the jour­nal Can­cer Re­search and funded by Chil­dren with Can­cer UK, Can­cer Re­search UK and The Rose­trees Trust.

Re­searchers stud­ied T1 map­ping in mice with an ag­gres­sive form of neu­rob­las­toma to get a clear pic­ture of the mi­cro­scopic and phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics of the tu­mor.

The team at The In­sti­tute of Can­cer Re­search (ICR) used ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence to map the dif­fer­ent cell pop­u­la­tions in tu­mors and com­pared these maps with those cre­ated us­ing non-in­va­sive T1 map­ping MRI scans.

The re­searchers found that re­gions with high T1 val­ues — where wa­ter mol­e­cules can be­have ‘more freely’ — cor­re­sponded to hotspots of more ag­gres­sive can­cer cells, which spread and grow faster. Mean­while, ar­eas with low T1 val­ues cor­re­sponded to more be­nign or dead tis­sue, which is less harm­ful.

The re­searchers also looked at whether the imag­ing tech­nique could help as­sess how mice with neu­rob­las­toma would re­spond to two tar­geted drugs, alis­ertib and vis­tusertib, which tar­get MYCN, a key pro­tein linked to ag­gres­sive forms of the dis­ease.

They found that when alis­ertib and vis­tusertib suc­cess­fully stopped the growth of tu­mors in mice, there was a de­crease in T1 mea­sures — re­flect­ing the death of ag­gres­sive can­cer cells. This sug­gests T1 mea­sures could be used as a biomarker — a mea­sur­able in­di­ca­tor which can guide treat­ment by in­di­cat­ing whether a drug is work­ing or not.

The re­searchers be­lieve ag­gres­sive can­cer cells have high T1 val­ues be­cause they tend to be small, but have large nu­clei—the con­trol cen­ters within each cell con­tain­ing our DNA, near which wa­ter can be­have ‘more freely’.

By eval­u­at­ing tu­mors’ cel­lu­lar make-up with T1 MRI scans, clin­i­cians would be able to get an ac­cu­rate un­der­stand­ing of the stage and ag­gres­sive­ness of the dis­ease in chil­dren with neu­rob­las­toma.

Next, re­searchers at the ICR — a char­ity and re­search in­sti­tute — plan to as­sess the clin­i­cal ben­e­fit of T1 map­ping as part of a clin­i­cal study in­volv­ing chil­dren.

The new re­search is the first to as­sess the ben­e­fit of the MRI tech­nique as a ‘smart’ can­cer biopsy — and re­searchers be­lieve the re­sults could be repli­cated more widely in other can­cer types in chil­dren and adults.

Study leader Dr. Yann Jamin, Chil­dren with Can­cer UK Re­search Fel­low at The In­sti­tute of Can­cer Re­search, London, said: “Our find­ings show that an imag­ing tech­nique read­ily avail­able on most MRI scan­ners has the po­ten­tial to pick out chil­dren with ag­gres­sive can­cer and give us early signs of whether a treat­ment is work­ing. We’ve shown in mice that this tech­nique can give us de­tailed in­sights into the bi­ol­ogy of neu­rob­las­toma tu­mors and help guide use of pre­ci­sion medicine, and next we want to as­sess its ef­fec­tive­ness in chil­dren with can­cer.

“It is easy to per­form and an­a­lyze T1 MRI scans, and they could be used to pro­vide in­sights into many as­pects of can­cer bi­ol­ogy — and help doc­tors to de­sign tai­lored treat­ments based on how ag­gres­sive a tu­mor ap­pears to be.”

Neu­rob­las­toma of the adrenal gland ED UTH­MAN/CC BY-NC 2.0

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