Center for Hyperpolarisation in Magnetic Resonance (HYPERMAG) got quite the Christmas gift this year; just before the holidays, the Medicines Agency allowed trials with hyperpolarised magnetic resonance scanning of cancer patients. These scans make it possible to see if cancer treatment affects cancer cells as intended the same day as initiated. The Ingeniøren magazine has written a longer article about the news and technology. HYPERMAG, one of the DNRFs Centers of Excellence, is lead by Jan Henrik Ardenkjær-Larsen who sees an enormous potential in the new method for measuring.
“In just two minutes, the method for example makes it possible for doctors to see how cancer cells react. It makes it possible to scan a patient before treating with chemotherapy and again afterwards, to see if the cells have weakened and if the treatment has been successful,” said Ardenkjær-Larsen.
The method changes (hyperpolarizes) the magnetism in the sugar used as a contrast fluid during the scan. The sugar is magnetized in the apparatus just before being injected into the patient. Then, it circulates the blood around the body to means and tissue. By doing a MR-scan it is possible to see what the sugar is converted to, where it happens and how quickly it is happening. Thereby revealing, whether the cells are healthy or unhealthy.
“With the new method, hyperpolarizing, it is possible to see what the cancer cells are doing. It is going to be a milestone for Denmark,” said the professor. Scientists estimate that the scan images will become up to 20,000 times more precise compared to current technologies.