The research was published early in the January issue of the journal Technology in Cancer Research and Treatment. The article describes experiments using ultrasonic molecular imaging (USMI) and Dynamic Contrast Enhanced-Perfusion Imaging (DCE-PI) to measure response to therapy for pancreatic cancer.
Paul Dayton, PhD, senior author says, "What we found is that using two non-invasive technologies, we can detect response to therapy earlier than by relying on tumor volume changes. Having new non-invasive, inexpensive technologies available to measure response to therapy earlier during the course of treatment would be a significant advance in the ability to tailor a person's treatment to improve outcomes."
Dr. Dayton, an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, worked with Jen Jen Yeh, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology, to evaluate the imaging technologies on human pancreatic cancer in a pre-clinical model. Both faculty are members of the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
USMI has the ability to characterize non-invasively the biologic processes at the cellular and molecular levels. It does this through the use of targeted contrast agents, which are markers that bind to specific proteins expressed on cancer cells within the body. These contrast agents enable a standard ultrasound system to detect signals from cancer cells that would otherwise be undetectable.
Ultrasound DCE-PI is a method used to non-invasively monitor the blood flow in the microcirculation. Since growing tumors require abnormally increased blood flow, changes in blood vessel structure or density can provide information regarding tumor malignancy.