New Sugar Solution May Detect Cancer SoonerFebruary 7, 2011 - 5:00 PM | by: Alicia Acuna
Multiple rounds of chemotherapy could become a toxic thing of the past for cancer patients if the promises of a new type of detection prove true.
Cell>Point, a bio-technology company based in Centennial, Colorado says its new imaging agent, that’s injected in the body, can help Single-Photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT) scanners see tumors as small as two millimeters. That’s an advance from what the gold standard and much pricier Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanners are able to detect.
According to Cell>Point, here’s how it works: A patient is injected with a solution of sugar and mild radioactive isotopes. Cancer cells are attracted to the sugar, so they eat it up. This increased activity lights up under the SPECT scan.
The SPECT part, is key. These scanners are in more hospitals and cost less than PET scans. Plus, PET’s aren’t able to differentiate between tumors and other issues, like inflammation, which make them vulnerable to false positives.
Dr. David Lynch, a thoracic radiologist for National Jewish Health in Denver tells Fox News, “If this is proven to show that it can effectively discriminate benign and malignant nodules or spots in the lung then it will be very helpful in reducing patient anxiety as opposed to the other strategy which would be to just watch and wait and see if a nodule grows, which produces more anxiety.”
Cell>Point spent $34-million dollars refining the test they say will be more accessible and easier to work with than other tests and can be used during the treatment phase. Terry Colip, Managing Memher of Cell>Point tells Fox News, “If you can image much sooner, and change your course of therapy, in four, five, six weeks out, you not only help that patient by switching to a therapy that works for that patient, but you save the payer about $19,500 dollars on average, per patient.”
Dr Lynch says because cancer treatments don’t always work the first time around, and it’s important to know earlier rather than later, adding, “And if it is working, it’s very helpful to know that the treatment can be continued with more confidance.”
Colip adds, “One of the things we want to do with this agent is help reduce the unneccessary rounds of therapy such as chemotherapy for patients.”
Pending approval by the Food and Drug Administration, Cell>Point says its product could be in hospitals by 2012.