How aggressive is a tumor? To measure the tumor status without taking tissue samples, Italian researchers have developed a method based on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of whole body parts. The technique measures proton nuclear resonance dispersion profiles at low magnetic fields, which reveals the water exchange rate of the tumor cells. Thus, tumor development can be monitored rapidly and noninvasively, say the authors of the study published in the journal Angewandte Chemie.
Clinically used high-field MRI can produce images of tumors with excellent spatial resolution. The images are acquired at a fixed magnetic field and reveal valuable data on the tumor morphology. However, dynamic processes such as tumor physiology and metabolism are not as easy to assess. This is a limitation that has been partially overcome by the administration of contrast agents, but a more direct method lies in the technique itself. Researcher Simonetta Geninatti Crich at the University of Torino, Italy, and her colleagues used a field-cycling nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) setup to measure the nuclear relaxation rates at low magnetic fields and found a clear correlation between the water dynamics and the tumor types.
NMR fast field cycling techniques measure the relaxation time of protons, the
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