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New scan to tackle neuroendocrine cancer

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Patients with neuroendocrine cancer could benefit from a new type of scan that identifies those who could be helped by specialist treatment.

The scan is said by the experts behind it to have the ability to find out which patients with advanced neuroendocrine cancers would give a good response to targeted radiotherapy treatment.

It is the form of the disease that killed Apple boss Steve Jobs in October last year.

In 2003, he was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour, which later spread to his liver.

The Institute of Cancer Research and The Royal Marsden Hospital are conducting the research. Experts hope to find neuroendocrine cancer patients who would benefit from peptide receptor targeted therapy.

Cells which are non-cancerous are left undamaged by the treatment, which is a form of radiotherapy.

A paper in the Radiology journal has been published online, in which Dr Dow-Mu Koh, Professor Martin Leach and Professor Val Lewington say dynamic contrast enhanced MRI can help in monitoring and predicting a patient’s reaction to the therapy.

“This test may help doctors to make decisions about which patients should be offered this targeted therapy, and whether to stop treatment if patients aren’t responding, avoiding side effects for those who won’t benefit,” Professor Leach said.

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