GLINT - GlucoCEST Imaging in Neoplastic Tumours

European Horizon 2020 Project

Figure 1. Optimized gluco-CEST technique at 9.4T. The CEST spectrum shows the hydroxyl CEST peak (asymmetry of curve at bottom) at some ppm downfield from water (left Subfigure). This can be used to create a hydroxyl proton weighted imaging contrast (right Subfigure) which can further be used for glucose injection studies. The inhomogeneity visible in the image results from the transmit field inhomogeneity, a high field issue that will be solved as part of this project.

The high level of sophistication in cancer treatment has led to a new unsolved problem, differentiating between treatment effect, regrowth and pseudo-progression of the tumour. To address these challenges, the GLINT project aims to develop and bring to the clinic a potentially disruptive new technology that can characterise and image glucose delivery, uptake and metabolism in cancer.

GLINT draws from recent research revealing the sensitivity of a technique named glucose-based chemical exchange saturation transfer (glucoCEST) to detect native (D-glucose) glucose uptake in tumours and that glucose analogues, such as 3-oxy-methyl-D-glucose (3OMG), can be used as potential non-metabolisable tracers using the same technique. It is the project’s goal to bring the combination of native D-glucose and 3-O-methyl-D-glucose as a combined exam to European clinical oncology practice to assess cancer glucose uptake and metabolism in almost all cancer types, thereby providing a wide-ranging new diagnostic tool for one of the most devastating diseases in the world.

Under the lead of University College London, eight partners from within and outside the European Union have joined forces to pursue their common goal of providing an inexpensive, widely available, more comprehensive, non-invasive and radiation- free method that can add to the nuclear medicine techniques currently used for cancer assessment within Europe.

At MPG in Tübingen two Post-Docs are working on fast and reliable glucoCEST sequence development for human scanners of field strengths 3T and 9.4T. Brain tumor patient studies are planned within the project in collaboration with the University Clinic Tübingen. Insights from ultra-high field (see Figure 1) will guide the optimization and interpretation of glucoCEST contrast at clinical field strengths. Results at both field strengths are used to improve cancer diagnosis using natural D-glucose as a contrast agent.

GLINT - GlucoCEST Imaging inNeoplastic Tumours, Grant 667510-2
PIs: X. Golay, G. Navon, S. Aime, K. Scheffler, O. Axesson, A. Mitulescu, S Grimm, G Crelier
Support total EUR 6.454.612, (own support EUR 637.537)

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