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New way of tracking muscle damage from radiation

study what happens to the blood supply at a microscopic level.

"These techniques are powerful, non-surgical ways to look into the body and study the microscopic and biochemical changes that are occurring in each patient after radiation therapy," Krasin said.

The team made 60 images of the same area, including a dynamic view of what was happening in the muscles during a six-minute period following infusion of gadolinium, a contrast agent.

"The rate at which the contrast agent flows in and out of a region, or whether it leaks out of the blood vessel, helps us understand whether the blood supply is in poor or good condition," Krasin said. "Changes in T2 measurements may indicate an increase in swelling following radiation therapy, which is evidence of inflammation that could be treated."

The researchers believe that the early changes they see in muscle, such as swelling and leakage, might help them predict how much damage will occur in the muscles during the course of many months. By better understanding what causes these changes, clinicians will then be able to design better radiation treatments to avoid potential problems or treat the injury at an earlier stage, Krasin said.
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Source:St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


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