Glowing Amino Acid To Spot Brain Cancer

February 15, 2015

An amino acid tagged with a glowing tracer compound could be used to spot the growing brain cancer, says Sriram Venneti and his team in a study titled “Glutamine-based PET imaging facilitates enhanced metabolic evaluation of gliomas in vivo” in Science Translational Medicine, on Feb 11, 2015.

Glutamine, an amino acid tagged with a tracer compound, when injected into a brain cancer patient, the spot of the tumour growth could be detected with high accuracy, say the researchers. Glucose and glutamine supply energy to the malignant cells in patients with glioma, a glial cell cancer. The glial cells, the neuron support cells crave for nutrients when cancerous, therefore, the tracer tagged glutamine can be used to monitor the cancer closely with a brain scan, says Venneti.

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