Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Improved ultrasound imaging provides an alternative way of visualizing tumors

Date:
January 29, 2014
Source:
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Summary:
While ultrasound provides a less expensive and radiation-free alternative to detecting and monitoring cancer compared to technologies such as X-rays, CT scans and MRIs, the lower clarity and resolution of ultrasound has limited its use in cancer treatment. Researchers have overcome this limitation by combining ultrasound with a contrast agent comprised of micro-sized bubbles that pair with an antibody produced at elevated levels by many cancers.

At right, SFRP2 targeted microbubbles bound specifically to vessels (stained green) within angiosarcoma. At left, a control without the targeted microbubbles.
Credit: UNC Health Care

While ultrasound provides a less expensive and radiation-free alternative to detecting and monitoring cancer compared to technologies such as X-rays, CT scans and MRIs, the lower clarity and resolution of ultrasound has limited its use in cancer treatment. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have overcome this limitation by combining ultrasound with a contrast agent made of micro-sized bubbles that pair with an antibody produced at elevated levels by many cancers.

By binding to the protein SFRP2, the microbubble contrast agent greatly improves the resolution and tumor-detecting ability of scans produced by ultrasound. In a paper published by PLOS-ONE, UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center members Nancy Klauber-DeMore, MD, professor of surgery, and Paul Dayton, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering, were able to visualize lesions created by angiosarcoma, a malignant cancer that develops on the walls of blood vessels.

"The SFRP2-moleculary targeted contrast agent showed specific visualization of the tumor vasculature," said Dr. Klauber-DeMore. "In contrast, there was no visualization of normal blood vessels. This suggests that the contrast agent may help to distinguish malignant from benign masses found on imaging."

Dr. Klauber-DeMore's lab was the first to discover that angiosarcoma cells produce an excess of SFRP2. Building on that discovery, her team focused on how to use the protein to better monitor the progress of the cancer within blood vessels. Using a pre-clinical model, the researchers delivered the microbubble contrast agent via intravenous injection and tracked it using ultrasound.

Since SFRP2 is expressed in many cancers -- including breast, colon, pancreas, ovarian and kidney tumors -- the technique could potentially be useful on a broad range of cancer types. Dr. Klauber-DeMore said that the next steps of her research team will involve determining how well the technique works with these other tumor types, as well as studying its effect on breast cancer.

As research indicates that the level of SFRP2 expressed by the tumors increases as the tumor develops, the team will also investigate whether the technique can be used to track tumor growth, making it useful for monitoring response to chemotherapy. They will also investigate whether it can be used to detect and visualize very small tumors.

"The question is can you develop a contrast agent that better tells you whether a tumor is malignant or benign," said Klauber-DeMore.

Since ultrasound is less expensive than commonly used imaging methods like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the technique could be useful in lowering the costs to patients being treated for cancer. As ultrasound is more portable than other imaging devices, it may be useful in providing treatment in rural and low-resource areas.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James K. Tsuruta, Nancy Klauber-DeMore, Jason Streeter, Jennifer Samples, Cam Patterson, Russell J. Mumper, David Ketelsen, Paul Dayton. Ultrasound Molecular Imaging of Secreted Frizzled Related Protein-2 Expression in Murine Angiosarcoma. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (1): e86642 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086642

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Improved ultrasound imaging provides an alternative way of visualizing tumors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129184602.htm>.
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. (2014, January 29). Improved ultrasound imaging provides an alternative way of visualizing tumors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129184602.htm
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "Improved ultrasound imaging provides an alternative way of visualizing tumors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140129184602.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
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