bdaily.tv Keeping you in the picture

Download our media pack

Durham-developed chemical for easier tests

Date 29 Aug 2007
Author bdaily.info
Contribute

A new chemical compound which could remove the need for patients to undergo certain invasive diagnostic tests in the future has been created by scientists at Durham University. The new compound could be used in a ‘chemically-sensitive MRI scan' to help identify the extent of progression of diseases such as cancer, without the need for intrusive biopsies.

The researchers, who are part of an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded group developing new ways of imaging cancer, have created a chemical which contains fluorine. It could, in theory, be given to the patient by injection before an MRI scan. The fluorine responds differently according to the varying acidity in the body, so that tumours could be highlighted and appear in contrast or ‘light up' on the resulting scan.

Professor David Parker of Durham University's Department of Chemistry explained: "There is very little fluorine present naturally in the body so the signal from our compound stands out. When it is introduced in this form it acts differently depending on the acidity levels in a certain area, offering the potential to locate and highlight cancerous tissue."

Professor Parker's team is the first to design a version of a compound containing fluorine which enables measurements to be taken quickly enough and to be read at the right 'frequency' to have the potential to be used with existing MRI scanners, whilst being used at sufficiently low doses to be harmless to the patient.

Durham University has filed a patent on this new approach and is now looking for commercial partners to help develop the research. Professor Parker and his team believe that molecules containing fluorine could be used in mainstream MRI diagnoses within the next decade.

  • Post a comment
  • Send to a friend

Send to a friend

Add your comments

Fields marked (*) are required

Sitemap