Survey highlights the age of scanners in hospitals

The Clinical Imaging Board has published Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) equipment, operations and planning in the NHS.

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Image source: http://www.rcr.ac.uk

This report is urging hospitals to formulate plans to replace outdated equipment, after a survey revealed half of healthcare organisations do not have set renewal plans, and more than a third of older magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners are not scheduled for replacement.

While many hospitals are operating newer equipment, 58% of MRI systems used are at least five years old, meaning they may not be able to conduct state-of-the-art imaging, needed for certain types of heart and prostate cancer scanning.

‘Huge leap’ in prostate cancer testing

The biggest leap in diagnosing prostate cancer “in decades” has been made using new scanning equipment, say doctors and campaigners | BBC News

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The trial, at 11 hospitals in the UK, used multi-parametric MRI on men with high PSA levels. It showed 27% of the men did not need a biopsy at all. And 93% of aggressive cancers were detected by using the MRI scan to guide the biopsy compared with just 48% when the biopsy was done at random.

Dr Ahmed, who works at University College London Hospitals, told the BBC News website:

“This is a significant step-change in the way we diagnose prostate cancer. We have to look at the long-term survival, but in my opinion by improving the detection of important cancers that are currently missed we could see a considerable impact. But that will need to be evaluated in future studies, and we may have to wait 10 to 15 years.”

Read the full news story here

Read the original research article here

Urgent investment called for to reduce long waits for cancer scans

Radiologists have written to prime minister Theresa May warning that NHS services are in a ‘dire state’ and demanding urgent investment to reduce delays for the 250,000 patients waiting more than a month for results of cancer scans. | GP Online

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In a letter to the prime minister this week, the Royal College of Radiologists backs a warning earlier this week from another royal college. The letter said: ‘The Royal College of Physicians’ view that the NHS is underfunded, underdoctored and overstretched, is borne out in the 250,000 patients currently waiting over a month for the results of their imaging studies and the poor cancer outcomes in this country.’

It calls for a ‘sustained programme of investment in imaging and radiotherapy equipment’ to tackle the existing shortfall.

Full story via GP Online

High-tech scans spare lymphoma patients intensive chemo

Cancer Research UK. Published online: 22 June 2016

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Image source: CRUK

Hodgkin lymphoma patients can be spared the serious side effects of chemotherapy  thanks to high-tech scans that can predict the outcome of treatment, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine

Doctors – funded by Cancer Research UK and international partners in Europe and Australasia – used positron emission tomography (PET)  to scan more than 1200 patients with advanced Hodgkin lymphoma after they had been given two cycles of standard chemotherapy. Those who had a clear PET scan were split into two groups – one group continued with chemotherapy including the drug bleomycin and the other had chemotherapy without the drug. They found that patients who stopped having bleomycin had the same survival rates as those who continued it. But, importantly, they were spared side effects. Patients on the trial who did not have a clear PET scan after two rounds of chemotherapy, suggesting they had a more resistant form of the disease, were given more intense chemotherapy treatment.

Bleomycin has been an important drug to treat Hodgkin lymphoma for 30 years, but it has a potential risk of severe effects on the lungs, with the risk of scarring, even years later, that can lead to serious breathing problems. Due to these risks the researchers wanted to explore the potential of adapting treatment by stopping bleomycin for patients with a good outlook and escalating treatment only for those at highest risk of the treatment not working.

Read the full press release here

Read the original research article here

 

MRI shows slight edge over CT in detecting pancreatic tumours

Smyth, D. Cancer Nursing Practice. Vol 15(5). pp. 15-15. Published in print: 10 June 2016

 

Pancreatic cancer is a significant cause of cancer mortality, with a poor five-year survival rate: 5% compared with 85% or more for breast cancer. In this Chinese study, two independent examiners undertook a retrospective analysis of the records of 38 patients with pathologically proven disease and surgically treated curative or palliative disease. They looked at whether there was a difference in the rates of detection and staging of the disease in two non-invasive diagnostic measures: computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Read the abstract here

First cancer patient in Europe scanned in Cambridge using new technique showing whether drugs work

CRUK. Published online: 11th April 2016.

Image shows confocal micrograph of prostate cancer cells treated with curcumin.

The first cancer patient in Europe has been scanned with a revolutionary imaging technique that could enable doctors to see whether a drug is working within a day or two of starting treatment.

The patient is the first to take part in a new metabolic imaging trial* of patients across a wide range of cancer types to be carried out by Cancer Research UK-funded scientists at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, part of Cambridge University Hospitals. The study, which is funded by a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award, could show whether patients can stop taking drugs that aren’t working for them, try different ones and receive the best treatment for their cancer as quickly as possible.

The rapid scan will allow doctors to map out molecular changes in patients, opening up potential new ways to detect cancer and monitor the effects of treatment.

The technique uses a breakdown product of glucose called pyruvate. The pyruvate is labelled with a non-radioactive form of carbon, called carbon 13 (C-13) which makes it 10,000 times more likely to be detected in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Pyruvate is injected into the patient and tracked as the molecule moves around the body and enters cells. The scan monitors how quickly cancer cells break pyruvate down – a measure of how active the cells are that tells doctors whether or not a drug has been effective at killing them.

Read the article here

Scientists create imaging ‘toolkit’ to help identify new brain tumor drug targets

Breckwoldt, M. et al. Correlated magnetic resonance imaging and ultramicroscopy (MR-UM) is a tool kit to assess the dynamics of glioma angiogenesis. eLife, 2016; 5

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Brain tumor vascularisation is visualized using T2*-weighted magnetic resonance imaging.
Credit: Breckwoldt, Bode et al.

Stopping the growth of blood vessels in tumors is a key target for glioblastoma therapies, and imaging methods are essential for initial diagnosis and monitoring the effects of treatments. A team of researchers has developed a combined magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultramicroscopy ‘toolkit’ to study vessel growth in glioma models in more detail than previously possible.

In their study in mice, the team combined an MRI approach in vivo with ultramicroscopy of ex vivo whole brains cleared for imaging.

The technique is based on T2*-weighted (T2*-w) MRI images, one of the basic pulse sequences in MRI, with high resolution to allow for substantially more detail than conventional T2*-w imaging. Pre- and post-contrast MR scans were performed to define the growth of vessels during glioma development in two different glioma models.

The team further mapped the development of vessels by dual-colour ultramicroscopy of whole, cleared brains. Using fluorescent labelling of microvessels, they collected complementary 3D MR and ultramicroscopy data sets (dubbed the ‘MR-UM’), which could be compared side-by-side.

Read the commentary article via ScienceDaily