PET scan

New imaging technique reveals cancer’s sleeper cells

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Monday, March 3, 2014 - 12:40 GMT Jump to Comments

A new scanning technique has been developed that can 'light up' cancer's sleeper cells, potentially warning patients and doctors of a relapse.

According to a study published in Cancer Research today, scientists at Imperial College London have developed a non-invasive scan that can detect dormant cancer cells in mice.

Currently most cancer treatments rely on targeting fast growing cells, leaving the dormant cells resistant to therapy. These cells can often be the reason for cancer retuning to a patient.

Cancer cells are able to enter a ‘sleeping’ state when they stop growing, and store energy for further use – at a higher rate than most normal healthy cells.

However, by utilising a radioactive molecule that can mimic the substance the human body uses to create energy, the researchers were able to measure the build up of these energy stores (known as glycogen) using positron emission tomography (PET).

Professor Eric Aboagye, senior author of the study said: “The ability of cancer cells to escape treatment by entering these dormant states has stymied progress for the treatment of numerous different cancers.

“This technique has immediate potential in the clinic to assess how well drugs are working for patients, and to warn of potential relapses post-treatment”.

Previous methods to examine energy stores in cancer cells required invasive techniques that involved procedures such as biopsies. These methods were only able to sample a small section of the tumour.

Nell Barrie, Cancer Research UK’s senior science communications manager, said: “This method shows real promise as a tool for telling doctors how much of the cancer could possibly be escaping treatment.

"At the moment this method has only been used in mice, but this sort of technique can be adapted for the clinic to help save more lives".

Comments

Latest

Today is Document Freedom Day. As of November 2012, all government bodies have had to adhere to Open Standards…

You’ve probably heard – you may even have begun to tire of the wall to wall coverage – but on…

Estimates suggest that 60-70% of total expenditure for a typical NHS organisation is dedicated to the employment…

Pressure on social care budgets is such that things simply can't continue being done as they have been in the past.

Our goal for health needs to change.We need to move away from the notion that health is the absence of disease…

Helping to set the EU regulatory framework, benefiting from EU funded R&D and the free movement of skilled engineers…

With the 2015 General Election just around the corner, a significant window of opportunity is open for political…

Before making any decisions, the most important thing to do is to understand all the options that are available…

The important thing to remember is apprenticeships aren’t new, in the UK they date back to as early as the…

The electoral battlespace is starting to take shape. Campaigners are busily debating the political landscape.

The next five years could see a rapid shift in health and care from understanding populations to understanding…

The Internet of Things was one of the most talked about trends at Mobile World Congress this year. It will change…