MSCA fellow develops a pioneer procedure to test tumour treatments’ effectiveness

Thursday, 12 December, 2013
Scientists from the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, have come up with a technique to establish early on if a cancer treatment is working. The results, published in Nature Medicine, confirm the method’s robustness. The lead author, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, is a former Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow.
"If we can show that this approach is safe and efficient in patients, it would have the potential to be a vital tool to evaluate a given treatment in its initial phase; being able to avoid unsuccessful treatments is extremely important and could allow us to change the treatment, with huge implications to the physical and psychological condition of the patient. Also economically, this approach could offer an important advantage, by the cost reduction in inefficient treatments" said Rodrigues.

It is known that the consumption of glucose (sugar) is much higher in tumours than in healthy tissues. Using this property of the tumour cells, Dr Rodrigues used a very sensitive modified magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) approach to produce images of the glucose consumption and metabolism of the tumour. The technique has been tested pre-clinically, and proved to be able to assess early response to cancer treatment. Clinical trials are at a preparatory stage. The lead author, Tiago Brandão Rodrigues, was supported by a 2-year Marie Skłodowska-Curie (MSCA) grant managed by the Research Executive Agency.

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