A team of researchers from Hokkaido University has developed a non-destructive cancer grade probing system (GPS) that can evaluate the malignancy grade of glioma tumor cells. Glioma is a common type of brain cancer, accounting for 26.3% of cases. The current methods for evaluating tumor malignancy are invasive and carry a high risk of complications. The new GPS system, using a water-soluble, luminescent europium complex, could provide a non-invasive and safer alternative for determining tumor malignancy in patients.
The researchers tested the GPS system on model cells that mimic glioma tumors of different grades of malignancy. They introduced the europium complex to the cells and measured changes in the lifetime of the characteristic red-light emission of the complex. They found that the more malignant cells showed larger changes in emission lifetime within the first three hours after the complex was added.
According to Professor Yasuchika Hasegawa, one of the lead researchers, previous studies have reported the use of luminescent complexes for visualizing cancer cells. However, their hypothesis was that the photophysical signals emitted by these complexes could reflect internal information from the cancer cells. By modifying the europium complex to be water-soluble and stable, the team achieved cellular uptake of the complex and observed significant changes in emission lifetime.
The differences in emission lifetimes were attributed to the varying tumor activity and growth processes of different malignancy grades. These differences could cause structural changes in the europium complex at different time scales. The researchers believe that this method could enable continuous detection of tumor activity, providing doctors with crucial information for determining appropriate treatment.
Brain tumors affect approximately 4.6 out of every 100,000 people in Japan, with a five-year survival rate of only 16% for the most malignant grade 4 glioblastoma. The GPS system developed by the researchers has the potential to benefit these patients in the future by offering a less invasive and more accurate method for evaluating tumor malignancy.
The research findings have been published in Scientific Reports, and the team is hopeful that further advancements in this technology will lead to improved cancer therapies and outcomes for patients with brain tumors.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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