Radiation-free scan that identifies disease at cellular level
Posted on Feb 25 2014 | IANS
London, Feb 25 : In a remarkable feat, Danish researchers have developed a novel technique that can scan even the invisible parts inside your organs and make them clearly visible to human eyes to identify development of diseases in greater detail.
Called hyperpolarisation method, this radiation-free scanning can help scientists know what is going on at the cellular level to make them diagnose the disease earlier than today.
"With hyperpolarisation, sensitivity to specific contrast agents is up to 10,000 times higher than with a traditional MRI scanning. We now can also see the metabolic changes as a consequence of acute influences while are taking place in organs," explained assistant professor Christoffer Laustsen from Aarhus University in Denmark.
The discovery stems from a study of the correlation between oxygen level and the development of kidney disease in rats with and without diabetes.
"With this method, we would have a fingerprint of the cells and we will be able to follow whether these fingerprints change over time, regardless of which organs we examine," added Laustsen.
The scientists would be able to see whether complications related to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are emerging or how a cancer tumour develops.
The technique would help tailor treatment to the individual patient to a greater extent.
The method is quite harmless, said the research published in the journal Kidney International.
"The contrast agent for the hyperpolarization scanning is sugar-based so there is no risk of the body tissues being exposed to radiation. It will, therefore, be possible to scan children more often than today," noted Laustsen.