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March 30, 2005

Special MRI Offers Quick Assessment of Brain Cancer Therapy

Topics: Medicine

A remarkable new application of MRI shows promise for early evaluation of the treatment used in brain tumors. Using diffusion MRI and a functional diffusion map, researchers have been able to predict with 100 percent accuracy after only three weeks of treatment whether the therapy would be effective - 10 weeks before traditional methods would show a response.

A cutting-edge MRI scan can radically reduce the time brain cancer patients and their doctors must now wait before seeing whether treatments targeting tumor growth are working, a new study suggests.

Researchers from the University of Michigan report that this special scanning method -- known as diffusion MRI -- measures water movement in the brain, and is designed to be used only three weeks into a seven-week treatment regimen of either chemotherapy or radiation.

They note that since water movement is slowed or blocked by the presence of tumor cells, any change in water flow mid-treatment would indicate a change in the size of the tumor.

Currently, traditional MRIs that measure brain tumor growth can only be successfully administered approximately six weeks after such treatments have ended, the researchers said.

Posted by Hyscience at March 30, 2005 9:58 PM

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