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High-tech 'whole body' scan could improve treatment of bone marrow cancer
Date:1/28/2014

fficult to image partly because of the frequency of metal dental implants and fillings. The researchers also found the new methods were suitable for more patients than conventional tests; for example, seven patients had bone marrow biopsies but their samples were found to be inadequate for analysis. Performing another biopsy could be traumatic and painful, and may not provide any new information.

Professor Nandita deSouza, Professor of Translational Imaging at The Institute of Cancer Research and Honorary Consultant at The Royal Marsden, said: "This is the first time we've been able to obtain information from all the bones in the entire body for myeloma in one scan without having to rely on individual bone X-rays. It enables us to measure the involvement of individual bones and follow their response to treatment.

"The results can be visualised immediately; we can look on the screen and see straight away where the cancer is and measure how severe it is. The scan is better than blood tests, which don't tell us in which bones the cancer is located. It also reduces the need for uncomfortable biopsies, which don't reveal the extent or severity of the disease."

Dr Faith Davies, member of the Myeloma Targeted Treatment Team at The Institute of Cancer Research and Honorary Consultant at The Royal Marsden, said: "Myeloma can affect bones anywhere in the body, which is why this study is so important. We've shown that whole body MRI scans can accurately monitor how myeloma patients are responding to treatment, allowing doctors to make more informed decisions. With this new scan, if a treatment isn't working the patient can be moved onto new therapies that might be more effective much more quickly.

"This is a small study, so our next step will be to try out the technology in more patients and refine it. In the future we hope this new tool will help doctors extend the life of more myeloma patients. "

Julia Frater, Cancer Research U
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Contact: Graham Shaw
Graham.Shaw@icr.ac.uk
44-020-715-35380
Institute of Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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