Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists Develop 'Crystal Ball' For Personalized Cancer Treatment

Date:
February 3, 2009
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Scientists have tested a non-invasive approach that may one day allow doctors to evaluate a tumor's response to a drug before prescribing therapy, enabling physicians to quickly pinpoint the most effective treatment and personalize it to the patient's unique biochemistry.

Watching chemo drugs at work in the body: Top, a PET scan reveals a mouse with two tumors; the left tumor is gemcitabine-sensitive and the right tumor is gemcitabine-resistant. Below, the UCLA probe is absorbed only by the cells of the (left) tumor that responds to gemcitabine.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of California - Los Angeles

For many cancer patients, chemotherapy can be worse than cancer itself. A patient may respond to one drug but not another -- or the tumor may mutate and stop responding to the drug -- resulting in months of wasted time, ineffective treatment and toxic side effects.

Now UCLA scientists have tested a non-invasive approach that may one day allow doctors to evaluate a tumor's response to a drug before prescribing therapy, enabling physicians to quickly pinpoint the most effective treatment and personalize it to the patient's unique biochemistry. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences publishes the UCLA findings in its Feb. 2 advance online edition.

"For the first time, we can watch a chemotherapy drug working inside the living body in real time," explained Dr. Caius Radu, a researcher at the Crump Institute for Molecular Imaging and assistant professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "We plan to test this method in healthy volunteers within the year to determine whether we can replicate our current results in humans."

In an earlier study, Radu and his colleagues created a small probe by slightly altering the molecular structure of gemcitabine, one of the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs. They labeled the probe with a special tag that enabled them to watch its movement throughout the body during imaging.

In this study, the UCLA team injected the probe into mice that had developed leukemia and lymphoma tumors. After an hour, the researchers imaged the animals' bodies with positron emission tomography (PET), a non-invasive scan often used on cancer patients to identify whether a tumor has spread from its original site or returned after remission.

"The PET scanner operates like a molecular camera, enabling us to watch biological processes in living animals and people," said Radu, who is also a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA. "Because we tag the probe with positron-emitting particles, the cells that absorb it glow brighter under the PET scan."

"The PET scan offers a preview for how the tumor will react to a specific therapy," added first author Rachel Laing, a UCLA graduate researcher in molecular and medical pharmacology. "We believe that the tumor cells that absorb the probe will also take up the drug. If the cells do not absorb the probe, it suggests that the tumor might respond better to another medication."

The UCLA researchers plan to expand the scope of their research by examining whether the probe can predict cellular response to several other widely used chemotherapy drugs. Their goal is to determine whether the probe can provide a diagnostic test of clinical value.

"The beauty of this approach is that it is completely non-invasive and without side effects," said Radu. "If we are successful in transporting this test to a clinical setting, patients will be able to go home immediately and resume their daily activities."

If testing in healthy subjects proves safe and effective, UCLA researchers will begin recruiting volunteers for a larger clinical study of the probe in cancer patients.

The study was funded by The Dana Foundation, National Cancer Institute, Department of Energy and Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Radu and Laing's coauthors included Martin Walter, Dean Campbell, Harvey Herschman, Nagichettiar Satyamurthy, Michael Phelps, Johannes Czernin and Owen Witte, all of UCLA.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Scientists Develop 'Crystal Ball' For Personalized Cancer Treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090202174936.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2009, February 3). Scientists Develop 'Crystal Ball' For Personalized Cancer Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090202174936.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Scientists Develop 'Crystal Ball' For Personalized Cancer Treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090202174936.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Mini Pacemaker Has No Wires

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Cardiac experts are testing a new experimental device designed to eliminate major surgery and still keep the heart on track. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

After Cancer: Rebuilding Breasts With Fat

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) More than 269 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Many of them will need surgery and radiation, but there’s a new simple way to reconstruct tissue using a patient’s own fat. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood Clots in Kids

Blood Clots in Kids

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Every year, up to 200,000 Americans die from a blood clot that travels to their lungs. You’ve heard about clots in adults, but new research shows kids can get them too. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Radio Waves Knock out Knee Pain

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Doctors have used radio frequency ablation or RFA to reduce neck and back pain for years. But now, that same technique is providing longer-term relief for patients with severe knee pain. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins