07/8/2013

Sugar could help detect cancer

NEWS

So maybe sugar isn't all bad. Research at University College London has found that consuming sugar could help doctors detect cancer in a person's body.  The procedure –called glucose chemical exchange saturation transfer – tracks the sugar through a person's body, where, during an MRI exam, it "lights up" areas where the cancer has invaded. This approach could provide a safer and simpler alternative to the standard radioactive techniques used today.

This tactic is based on the fact that tumors consume much more glucose than healthy tissue. After having a person consume glucose, MRI scans can be used to see where the sugar goes – which should lead the doctors to the cancer.  The new GlucoCEST uses radio waves to magnetically "label" glucose in the body, which can then be found by using simple imaging techniques.  Instead of eating the sugar, a patient would receive an injection.

The researchers claim that cancer can be detected using roughly half the sugar that you would find in a standard chocolate bar, which could make this a particularly cost-effective method for detecting cancer. 

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Sourced from: Sugar Makes Cancer Light-Up in MRI Scanners, Science Daily