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UCLA

3-D immune system view aids cancer treatment

UCLA researchers created a new molecule that gets picked up in PET scans, revealing a 3-D monitoring map of patients' immune systems that can be used in treatments.

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By Kim Irwin

Published Jun 9, 2008 12:07 PM


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Dr. Owen Witte

Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have modified a common chemotherapy drug to create a new probe for positron emission tomography (PET), an advance that will allow them to model and measure the immune system in action and monitor its response to new therapies.

The discovery, published June 8 in the early online edition of the peer-reviewed journal Nature Medicine, enables scientists to monitor the immune system three-dimensionally — at the whole-body level — as it tries to fight some cancers, or when it goes awry, as it does in autoimmune diseases.

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Dr. Caius Radu

Researchers created a small molecule, called FAC, by slightly altering the molecular structure of one of the most commonly used chemotherapy drugs, gemcitabine. They then added a radiolabel so the cells that take in the probe can be seen during PET scanning.

Read the complete story at UCLA Today.

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