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MRI: A window to genetic properties of brain tumors
Date:3/24/2008

t the activity of specific molecular programs in these tumors can be determined based on MRI scans alone, said Kuo. We were also able to link the MRI with a group of genes that appear to be involved in tumor cell invasiona phenotype associated with a reduced rate of patient survival.

Laboratory work that relies on tissue samples is routinely used to diagnose and guide treatment for GBM. However, the biological activity shown may depend on the portion of the tumor from which the tissue sample is obtained. The researchers have shown that MRI could be used to identify differences in gene expression programs within the same tumor.

Gene expression results in the production of proteins, which largely determine a tumors characteristics and behavior. This non-invasive MRI method could, for example, detect which part of a tumor expresses genes related to blood vessel formation and growth or tumor cell invasion, said Kuo. Understanding the genetic activity could prove to be a very strong predictor of survival in patients, and help explain why some patients have better outcomes than others.

Kuo also led a study, published in Nature Biotechnology in May 2007, correlating CT images of cancerous tissue with gene expression patterns in liver tumors. In the new study, we were able to take a different imaging technology, MRI, and apply it to a totally different tumor type, he said, noting that the studies open up promising new avenues for non-invasive diagnoses and classification of cancer.


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Contact: Debra Kain
ddkain@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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