Decisions on cancer treatment could become better tailored to individual patients with the adoption of a new imaging method being developed by University of Michigan researchers that maps the chemical makeup of a patient’s tumor.
Yet, the chemical environment of a tumor has a significant effect on how effective a particular treatment may be. For example, a low oxygen level in the tumor tissue impairs the effectiveness of radiation therapy.
Now, a team of scientists from the University of Michigan and two universities in Italy has demonstrated that an imaging system that uses special nanoparticles can provide a real-time, high-resolution chemical map that shows the distribution of chemicals of interest in a tumor.
It could lead to a way to help clinicians make better recommendations on cancer therapy tailored to a particular patient—precision medicine.
Their research, published in ACS Nano, reports on the first demonstration of an in vivo chemical imaging method generalizable to any chemical of interest, according to U-M chemistry professor Raoul Kopelman, one of the senior authors on the paper.
The researchers used a method for “chemical imaging” of tissues called photo-acoustic chemical imaging, or PACI.
“The novelty of this method is that it is performed in vivo, directly inside the body,” Kopelman said.
The team tested their system in mice that were implanted with tissue from a biopsy of a patient’s tumor, called a xenograft. Patient-derived xenografts recapitulate the genetic and biological characteristics of the patient’s tumor.
PACI employs nanoparticles that have been developed in the past decades, by Kopelman and others, that can be injected into the mouse to target the tumor and sense a particular chemical of biomedical interest, such as oxygen, sodium or potassium.
When this nanosensor is activated by infrared laser light that is able to penetrate into the tumor tissues, an ultrasound signal is generated that can be used to map the concentration and distribution of that particular chemical.
The PACI method could be used in a mouse xenograft to repeatedly follow the characteristics of a particular patient’s tumor to evaluate the chemical environment of the tumor over time.
“This would allow for optimization of treatment methods for a particular patient—precision medicine,” Kopelman said.
Kopelman and colleagues employed the PACI with a nanoparticle targeted to sense oxygen. Following radiation therapy of the tumor in the mouse, the researchers found a significant correlation between oxygen levels in each part of the tumor and how well radiation therapy destroyed tumor tissue—the lower the local oxygen in the tissue, the lower the local radiation therapy efficacy.
“We thus provide a simple, noninvasive, and inexpensive method to both predict the efficacy of radiation therapy for a given tumor and identify treatment-resistant regions within the tumor’s microenvironment,” Kopelman said.
“Such chemical mapping would help the clinical team prescribe a personalized, optimal treatment for a given patient’s tumor, based on the new diagnostics from the tumor xenograft’s chemical mapping.”
In this research, PACI has been employed in patient-derived xenografts. The ultimate goal would be the ability to make the chemical maps in patients directly.
That would be feasible, says Kopelman, with fiber optics that could be threaded through the patient’s venous system, as is done in cardiac procedures, to get near the tumor. The nanosensor could then be activated by the laser, but it requires nanosensors developed for each chemical of interest, and each nanosensor would need to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
DREAM complex could hold key to fighting cancer and living longer
DNA may be the stuff of life, but if it isn't repaired in our bodies on a regular basis, it can lead to diseases that can cause some pretty unpleasant types of death. DNA [...]
A Promising New Pathway in the Battle Against Aggressive Prostate Cancer
Neuronal Molecule Makes Prostate Cancer More Aggressive Researchers discover a potential therapeutic avenue against an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer and the second leading cause of [...]
Nasal Vaccines: Stopping the COVID-19 Virus Before It Reaches the Lungs
The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines have played a large role in preventing deaths and severe infections from COVID-19. But researchers are still in the process of developing alternative approaches to vaccines to improve [...]
NASA Tracking a Huge, Growing Anomaly in Earth’s Magnetic Field – with video
NASA is actively monitoring a strange anomaly in Earth's magnetic field: a giant region of lower magnetic intensity in the skies above the planet, stretching out between South America and southwest Africa. This vast, developing [...]
New, Better Models Show How Infectious Diseases Like COVID-19 Spread
Infectious diseases such as COVID-19 can spread rapidly across the globe. Models that can predict how such diseases spread will strengthen national surveillance systems and improve public health decision-making. The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the [...]
Human Antibodies Discovered That Can Block Multiple Coronaviruses Including COVID-19
Results from a Scripps Research and UNC team pave the way for a vaccine and therapeutic antibodies that could be stockpiled to fight future coronavirus pandemics. A team of scientists from Scripps Research and [...]
Nanotechnology could be used to treat lymphedema
The human body is made up of thousands of tiny lymphatic vessels that ferry white blood cells and proteins around the body, like a superhighway of the immune system. It's remarkably efficient, but if [...]
DNA Nanotechnology Tools – From Design to Applications
Suite of DNA nanotechnology devices engineered to overcome specific bottlenecks in the development of new therapies, diagnostics, and understanding of molecular structures. DNA nanostructures with their potential for cell and tissue permeability, biocompatibility, and [...]
Regenerating bone with deer antler stem cells
Scientists from a collection of Chinese research institutions collaborated on a study of organ regeneration in mammals, finding deer antler blastema progenitor cells are a possible source of conserved regeneration cells in higher vertebrates. [...]
AI Takes On Cancer: Analysis of Mutations Could Lead to Improved Therapy
Cancer is a complex and diverse disease, and its range of associated mutations is vast. The combination of these genomic changes in an individual is referred to as their “mutational landscape.” These landscapes vary [...]
Exposing tumours to bacteria converts immune cells to cancer killers
New research on inflammation could lead to better treatments to improve outcomes for people with advanced or previously untreatable cancers. Introducing bacteria to a tumour’s microenvironment creates a state of acute inflammation that triggers [...]
Smart nanotechnology for more accurate delivery of insulin
More efficient and longer lasting glucose-responsive insulin that eliminates the need for people with type 1 diabetes to measure their glucose levels could be a step closer thanks to a Monash University-led project. Published [...]
Efficiently Harvesting Rare Earth Elements From Wastewater Using Exotic Bacteria
The novel strains of cyanobacteria exhibit a fast and efficient “biosorption” of rare earth elements, making recycling possible. Rare earth elements (REEs) are a set of 17 metallic elements that possess similar chemical properties. [...]
Resisting Treatment: Cancer Cells Shrink or Super-Size To Survive
A new approach to image analysis has uncovered how cancer cells manipulate their size as a means of resisting treatment. Researchers have discovered that cancer cells are capable of either shrinking or super-size themselves [...]
New Research Explains Why Children Avoid Severe COVID-19 Symptoms
According to new research, children exhibit a robust initial immune response to the coronavirus, however, they are unable to transfer this response to long-lasting memory T cells like adults do. Researchers led by scientists [...]
Scientists Unravel Protein Map of Mitochondria
A new study sheds light on the organization of proteins within mitochondria. Mitochondria, the “powerhouses” of cells, play a crucial role in the energy production of organisms and are involved in various metabolic and [...]