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Sloan-Kettering “Pioneering” Use of MRI To Quickly, Accurately Determine Effectiveness of Cancer Treatment

Mesothelioma DoctorMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is dedicated to excellence in the prevention, treatment, and cure of cancer – and the center is continually innovating to achieve that goal. Last month, MesotheliomaHelp reported on the Center’s new approach to clinical trials using “Basket Studies.” Now, MSKCC is leading the way by appraising an innovative tool that can quickly and accurately assess a patient’s response to his or her cancer treatment.

GE’s SpinLab is a “hyperpolarizing system” that provides a view into metabolic activity at the cellular level through magnetic resonance imaging. Mesothelioma, lung cancer and other diseases are all impacted by metabolic activity, and cancerous cells metabolize nutrients at a faster rate than healthy cells. The view into these metabolic alterations with hyperpolarizing MRI provides access to treatment monitoring as well as disease detection.

Mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer typically affecting the lining of the lungs, is highly aggressive and is resistant to many cancer treatments making it a difficult disease to treat effectively. The primary treatment for mesothelioma is chemotherapy. However, currently there are no effective, non-invasive tests available for determining responsiveness. But the use of the SpinLab may provide the breakthrough needed to allow medical teams to track cancer progress and efficacy of the treatment.

“With hyperpolarized MRI, we may be able to tell in 24 to 48 hours – rather than weeks – if a treatment is working,” said MSKCC biochemist and imaging specialist Kayvan Keshari, in a Sept. 8 blog article. “And if it’s not, we can change the approach right away.”

To determine a treatment’s effectiveness with the MRI, cancer patients are given a sugar solution injection and are then given a scan both prior to receiving treatment and after treatment. The feedback from the MRI allows the oncologist to compare the data and determine whether the metabolic activity is consistent with the expectation of an effective treatment.

James Eastham and Vincent Laudone, MSKCC urologic surgeons and proponents of the new technology, say the data supplied by the tool represents “a big leap beyond the basic information about tumor structure and size that conventional imaging technologies such as traditional MRI and CT scans are able to show.”

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, and is also one of the premier centers for treating mesothelioma patients. According to MSKCC’s website, the cancer center “is a leader in the treatment of mesothelioma and has one of the nation’s largest volumes of patients with this illness.” In addition, scientists at MSKCC are focused on developing new therapies and approaches to treat mesothelioma patients.

“Farther down the road, hyperpolarized MRI could also be used to reveal additional information about a tumor, including its stage, genotype, or how aggressive it is,” says Dr. Kayvan R. Keshari, MSKCC biochemist.

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Nancy Meredith is a blog and web content writer with more than 20 years of professional experience in the Information Technology industry. She has been writing about Mesothelioma for 7 years. Follow Nancy on Google+

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