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 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 » Cancer in 3D 8 things that you didn't know caused cancer 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 Cat poo parasite could cure cancer 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 Shah Rukh Khan battles knee pain News ISIS orders genital mutilation for Iraqi women Medical SA's first 3D-printed jaw bone implantation a success News Boy has 232 teeth surgically removed Medical Asthma drug may be the solution to chronic hives Medical MERS may be transported through the air From our sponsors A number of good reasons why saving the tooth is a better option Breakfast like a King Alzheimer’s disease – incurable but preventable Cancer is a word that strikes fear into the hearts of many. Live healthier Yoga » Exercise time? Yoga mats matter Yoga and sleep What yoga can do for you Yoga is a stress-buster, but it also helps with anxiety, depression, insomnia, back pain and other ills. Allergy alert » Allergy myths Cold or allergy? Children and allergies Allergy facts vs. fiction Some of the greatest allergy myths and misconceptions can actually be damaging to your health.