New MRI tracer could make cancer much easier to spot

The experimental tracer is a gadolinium and protein compound that accurately detects early stage metastasis.

    2020/02/12

NSFW    ATLANTA — Researchers claim that a new MRI contrast agent could be a "game changer" for the early detection of metastasizing cancers, especially liver cancer. This study was published in Science Advances on Feb. 5.

The paper focused on a form of eye cancer that can migrate to the liver during the early stages of metastasizing. Georgia State University's news release states that current tests often do not detect liver cancer before advanced stages.

The research team applies the metal element gadolinium to the contrast agent's protein. This allows the MRI to accurately detect overexpression of receptors called CXCR4 in cancerous organs, even during early stage metastasis.

According to the paper, the contrast agent has been tested in mice, but the university says that the substance can identify multiple types of cancer cells and the FDA is fast tracking human trials, which could begin in 18 months.
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