Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Visualising Vessels

A detailed view of tumour blood supply improving diagnosis and therapy

11 June 2020

Visualising Vessels

Just like healthy tissues, tumours need a blood supply to receive vital nutrients. But unlike healthy tissues, their blood supply is often chaotic. Doctors often treat tumours by taking advantage of their blood supply to deliver chemotherapy. The effectiveness of this treatment depends in part on the spread of blood vessels across the tumour. More detailed imaging of tumour blood supply could therefore help doctors more effectively treat cancer. Researchers test an imaging technique called ultrasound localisation microscopy (ULM) on live mouse kidney tumours grafted into chicken embryos. ULM images of the tumours (pictured) revealed structural and physiological details of their blood supply, including the speed of blood flow, represented by different colours. These images were compared to detailed histology images of fixed, that is non-living, tumour tissues, which confirmed the accuracy of ULM. This supports the development of ULM as a tool to aid cancer treatment in patients.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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