22 March 2016

The pill will facilitate the diagnosis of breast cancer

The recent debates around the diagnosis of breast cancer have confused many women, especially those who have reached the age at which regular mammography was previously recommended. The problem with modern methods of diagnosing breast cancer is that they often allow you to identify seals, but do not allow you to uniquely determine whether they are malignant or not. Researchers at the University of Michigan hope that this problem will be solved with the help of their development, which is a tablet, the use of which will increase the effectiveness of imaging methods due to the selective glow of malignant tumors.

Breast cancer ranks second in the frequency of occurrence among malignant tumors in women. Mammography, which is the modern standard of screening, is an X-ray examination of breast tissue. Its results provide doctors with information about the localization and size of tumor nodes, but they do not allow to distinguish malignant tumors from benign ones. To obtain more accurate results, doctors are forced to resort to invasive biopsy of tumor tissue, which also does not give unambiguous results in all cases.

When suspicious foci are detected, doctors and patients often choose treatment consisting in surgical removal of the tumor followed by radio and chemotherapy. Therapy can last for many months and is fraught with serious side effects.

In order to increase the efficiency of selecting women who do not need treatment, researchers led by Dr. Greg Thurber have developed a tablet containing an imaging agent that selectively binds to cancer cells or cells of blood vessels feeding tumors. After attachment to the target, the dye fluoresces under the action of near-infrared light. Despite the fact that fluorescent tumors can only be registered at a depth of 1-2 cm, Turbet claims that due to the elasticity of breast tissue, combining this technique with ultrasound will allow detecting almost all cancerous tumors.

Experiments on mice have shown that with oral administration, a significant portion – 50-60% – of the dye penetrates into the bloodstream. At the same time, it selectively binds to cancer cells, which are visualized with a small background noise.

If the developers manage to create a tablet suitable for clinical use, it will greatly facilitate the diagnosis for women with dense breast tissue, whose mammography results are very difficult to interpret. To do this, they try to combine the dye with molecules that facilitate its absorption in the human intestine. They are also working on an imaging agent that specifically binds to the cells of aggressive tumors, which will distinguish them from slow-growing neoplasms, such as non-invasive ductal carcinoma.

Thurber notes that it is quite difficult to predict the start date of clinical trials of the new approach, but the dye used in it is already being used in Europe for other clinical purposes, which may speed up the process of its official approval with the United States.

The results of the work were presented at the 251st Congress of the American Chemical Society "Computers in Chemistry", held on March 13-17 in San Diego, California.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of the American Chemical Society: How a pill could improve breast cancer diagnoses.


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