Ordinary sugar could become a future tool to detect cancerous growths.
Malignant tumours consume more sugar than the surrounding tissue so experts are looking at a way to use the sugar in cancer scans.
The cancerous growth’s properties can be examined by injecting a small amount of sugar and then measuring how much sugar the tumour consumes.
The more sugar the tumour absorbs, the more malignant it is.
At team at John Hopkins University in the USA has developed a new magnetic resonance imaging technique.
They are collaborating with Linda Knutsson, senior lecturer at Lund University in Sweden on using sugar with the scans.
It is the first time this has been done and according to the team the results are “promising”.
In preliminary tests of people with brain tumours, Ms Knutsson has found that the sugar uptake is higher in the tumours than the surrounding tissue.
She is now putting together a more detailed study on a larger group of patients and believes that ultimately this “could lead to a reduction in medical care costs”.