How sugar can help detect cancerous tumours

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London, Feb 23 (IANS) Swedish researchers have developed a new magnetic imaging technique that utilises sugar to assess the malignancy of tumours in cancer patients.

The new imaging technique has been combined with the testing of natural sugar as a replacement for metal in contrast agents.

The results showed that malignant tumours (cancerous cells) show higher sugar consumption than surrounding tissue.

“If sugar replaces metal as a contrast agent in the body, it can also have a positive psychological effect and make patients calmer,” said Linda Knutsson, lecturer at the Lund University in Sweden.

Further, sugar-based contrast agents are cheaper than metal-based agents, leading to a reduction in medical care costs.

However, sugar-based contrast agents cannot be used in examinations of diabetic patients who may have cancer, the researchers explained in the study published in the journal Tomography.

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The tests were carried out on three people with a brain tumour and four healthy people.

Scientists found that a tumour’s properties can be examined by injecting a small amount of sugar into it, and then measuring how much sugar the tumour consumes.

The more sugar the tumour consumes, the more malignant it is, they noticed.

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