Home > Medical > Cancer > News Updated 08 July 2013 Sugar makes cancer light up in MRI scanners Scientists have developed a new technique using sugar to detect cancer. 0 Pin It Credit: UCL Related Gene-based blood test for colon cancer shows promise Blood tests to detect sexually transmitted cancers New model for gene testing in cancer patients Quiz Cancer: are you at risk? » Ask CyberDoc » Quiz Am I eating to optimise my health? » Subscribe Newsletters » Marijuana used for medical benefits Living with breast cancer part 1: Samantha's story A new technique for detecting cancer by imaging the consumption of sugar with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been unveiled by UCL scientists. The breakthrough could provide a safer and simpler alternative to standard radioactive techniques and enable radiologists to image tumours in greater detail. The new technique, called 'glucose chemical exchange saturation transfer' (glucoCEST), is based on the fact that tumours consume much more glucose (a type of sugar) than normal, healthy tissues in order to sustain their growth. The researchers found that sensitising an MRI scanner to glucose uptake caused tumours to appear as bright images on MRI scans of mice. Cheap, safe alternativeLead researcher Dr Simon Walker-Samuel, from the UCL Centre for Advanced Biomedical Imaging (CABI) said: "GlucoCEST uses radio waves to magnetically label glucose in the body. This can then be detected in tumours using conventional MRI techniques. The method uses an injection of normal sugar and could offer a cheap, safe alternative to existing methods for detecting tumours, which require the injection of radioactive material." Professor Mark Lythgoe, Director of CABI and a senior author on the study, said: "We can detect cancer using the same sugar content found in half a standard sized chocolate bar. Our research reveals a useful and cost-effective method for imaging cancers using MRI – a standard imaging technology available in many large hospitals." He continued: "In the future, patients could potentially be scanned in local hospitals, rather than being referred to specialist medical centres." The study is published in the journal Nature Medicine and trials are now underway to detect glucose in human cancers. Vulnerable groups can be scanned regularlyAccording to UCL's Professor Xavier Golay, another senior author on the study: "Our cross-disciplinary research could allow vulnerable patient groups such as pregnant women and young children to be scanned more regularly, without the risks associated with a dose of radiation." Dr Walker-Samuel added: "We have developed a new state-of-the-art imaging technique to visualise and map the location of tumours that will hopefully enable us to assess the efficacy of novel cancer therapies." EurekAlert More in Medical Shortage of chemo drugs at Joburg hospital More: CancerNews advertisement Get a quote Momentum - save up to 35% on healthcare advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Add your comment Thank you, your comment has been submitted. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical Shortage of chemo drugs at Joburg hospital Medical Popular hair treatment linked to cancer Parenting Size of foetus affects stillbirth risk Lifestyle Climate data could help Tanzania curb malaria Diet and nutrition High-fat diets linked to breast cancer Medical Powdererd alcohol product blocked by US authorities From our sponsors Momentum Health OatWell Dual Cross Is being overweight or obese dangerous? Tips to keep your immunity strong this winter Smile your way to better health Live healthier Strenghten your immunity » Keep your immunity strong Immune system boosters Boost your family's immunity 5 immune boosters in your kitchen You don’t need a handful of vitamins and supplements to keep your body healthy, check out these five immune boosting foods you probably already have in your kitchen. Laugh a little » Eat yourself happy Laugh more and live longer Laughing yoga the best medicine The healing power of laughter A good chuckle doesn't only make you feel happy for a moment, it's beneficial to your health too.