Relaxometry helps monitor cancer

Nuclear magnetic relaxometry can be used to monitor the chemical particulate outpouring from brain tumors using a standard blood sample rather than having to obtain hazardous and invasive biopsies. The approach offers medical researchers and oncologists with an effective and simple way to diagnose and monitor the aggressive and most common form of brain cancer glioblastoma multiforme. The technique homes in on what was previously thought to be nothing more interesting than cell dust present in blood samples from cancer patients. Ralph Weissleder and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital have homed in on the chemicals within these microvesicles as trackable biomarkers for this particular cancer as well as potentially other diseases.