View Full Version : Imaging blood vessel growth in tumors

July 16th, 2003, 10:14 AM
Imagine being able to quickly detect and diagnose blood vessel growth in cancerous tumors, and even predict how fast the tumors might metastasize or spread. Researchers at the University of Virginia Health System are doing just that in animal models using millions of tiny microbubbles injected into the bloodstream, coupled with contrast-enhanced ultrasound, an inexpensive and widely-used technique using sound waves to "see" inside the body. Their findings are published in the July 22 edition of the journal Circulation, available online at http://circ.ahajournals.org/ (http://circ.ahajournals.org/).

"For the first time, this research shows that scientists can detect cancer using ultrasound contrast agents targeted to abnormal blood vessels that reside within tumors," said Dr. Jonathan Lindner, a U.Va. cardiologist and primary author of the study. "By assessing how much new blood vessel growth there is, we can detect tumors and metastatic spread at a very early stage."

Lindner said the one of the first signs of tumor and metastasis is a remodeling of surrounding blood vessels in the normal tissue near a tumor. The tumor activates the process of growth of new blood vessels called angiogenesis, supplying nutrients and oxygen to the tumor and keeping it alive.

To detect angiogenesis in and around a tumor, Dr. Lindner's research group developed microbubbles targeted to the endothelial (inner) lining of new blood vessels. Microbubbles are normally about half the size of a red blood cell and are composed of a gas surrounded by a shell. They are currently being used worldwide to image blood flow and heart function in patients.


October 8th, 2003, 10:53 AM
I wonder if this would be applicable to non-cancerous tumors that are made up of abnormal blood vessel growth (like a hemangioma)?

October 8th, 2003, 01:03 PM
This looks very promising.

I'm also looking at shark cartilage therapy. The NIC has performed a Phase III study and its conclusion is at best inconclusive.

October 9th, 2003, 02:15 PM
It's kind of like a barium enema. That's where the patient drinks a barium milkshake, and then goes and gets an x-ray of their innards. The barium compound (which is of course a bit radioactive) lights up like a christmas tree, and you can get a better look at what's going on in the intestines. Then it all passes through your body and you're none the worse for wear.

October 9th, 2003, 02:17 PM
MRI's are similar too, what happens is that a magnetic field grabs all your water molecules (which are highly polarized due to their unique shape), and makes them all face the same direction. I don't know how the image is taken, but the result shows the relative density of water in each part of your body, from which they can build a picture. Neat stuff.