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New MR analysis technique reveals brain tumor response to anti-angiogenesis therapy
Date:8/18/2013

A new way of analyzing data acquired in MR imaging appears to be able to identify whether or not tumors are responding to anti-angiogenesis therapy, information that can help physicians determine the most appropriate treatments and discontinue ones that are ineffective. In their report receiving online publication in Nature Medicine, investigators from the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), describe how their technique, called vessel architectural imaging (VAI), was able to identify changes in brain tumor blood vessels within days of the initiation of anti-angiogenesis therapy.

"Until now the only ways of obtaining similar data on the blood vessels in patients' tumors were either taking a biopsy, which is a surgical procedure that can harm the patients and often cannot be repeated, or PET scanning, which provides limited information and exposes patients to a dose of radiation," says Kyrre Emblem, PhD, of the Martinos Center, lead and corresponding author of the report. "VAI can acquire all of this information in a single MR exam that takes less than two minutes and can be safely repeated many times."

Previous studies in animals and in human patients have shown that the ability of anti-angiogenesis drugs to improve survival in cancer therapy stems from their ability to "normalize" the abnormal, leaky blood vessels that usually develop in a tumor, improving the perfusion of blood throughout a tumor and the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation. In the deadly brain tumor glioblastoma, MGH investigators found that anti-angiogenesis treatment alone significantly extends the survival of some patients by reducing edema, the swelling of brain tissue. In the current report, the MGH team uses VAI to investigate how these drugs produce their effects and which patients benefit.

Advanced MR techniques developed in recent years can determine factors like the size, radius and capacity o
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Contact: Katie Marquedant
kmarquedant@partners.org
617-726-0337
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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