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MRI Monitors Tumor Model Development

Investigators from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute and the University of Arizona Cancer Center have demonstrated that an advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method can non-invasively evaluate the cellular proliferation of tumor models of breast cancer. This quantitative imaging method evaluates the diffusion of water in tumor tissue, which correlates with the growth rates of the tumor models. The results, which appear in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine, can contribute to the development of new tumor models for cancer research.

“In the absence of imaging such as we describe here, developers of tumor models are flying blind" says Robert Gillies of the Moffitt. “In this study, we show that the behavior of water in tissues can provide important information about tumor development. More specifically, the mobility of water is inhibited by biological barriers such as cell membranes, so that decreased mobility can be used as a measure of cell density and proliferation in tumor models.”

The development of new tumor models is a high priority for current cancer research. Yet creating new pre-clinical tumor models from cancer cells obtained from patients is a laborious process with a low potential for success. Dr. Marty Pagel, co-investigator from Arizona, states that “noninvasive, quantitative imaging techniques have potential to accelerate and improve the success of establishing new tumor models for innovative cancer studies.”

This work, which was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute, is detailed in a paper titled, “Monitoring the development of xenograft triple-negative breast cancer models using diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging.” An abstract of this paper is available at the journal's Web site.
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