April 19, 2005
MRI predicts cancer treatmer
By Philip Svabik
Daily Staff Reporter
People diagnosed with brain cancer may
soon have access to more effective therapy
options, thanks to an advanced MRI scan
that can chart the success of a particular
treatment early on in the course of therapy,
a new University study suggests.
Currently, once a patient is diagnosed
with brain cancer, they enter into therapeu-
tic treatment of either radiation therapy or
chemotherapy for about six to seven weeks.
Patients then must wait six to twelve weeks
after the treatment period has ended to return
for a follow up image that will prove if the
treatment was effective or not.
"If you didn't respond to the treatment,
then you have gone through almost three
months of ineffective intervention," said
Brian Ross, a professor of radiology and bio-
logical chemistry at the University and one
of the study's 14 authors.
"And now you are faced with the gloomy
task of essentially deciding what you are
going to select next in consultation with your
physician," he added.
However, Ross and his colleagues have
found that by using a special MRI scan,
called an MRI diffusion map, they can
evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment
at a mere three weeks into it - roughly 10
weeks earlier than if standard MRI imaging
procedures were used.
Diffusion MRI works by measuring the
flow of the water surrounding the brain
through the tumor, which helps measure the
density of the tumor. The researchers found
that if after three weeks there is no diffusion
change compared to before treatment was
initiated, then the current treatment method
is unsuccessful. A more or less dense tumor
after three weeks indicates effective treat-
ment. The magnitude of the change in den-
sity correlates to the treatment effectiveness,
Following the imaging from the MRI
diffusion map, Ross said that physicians
can then continue the current treatment if
it appears to be successful, or he or she can
immediately begin a new form of treatment
This time saved is critical to the treat-
ment of brain cancer, which often has a very
aggressive nature, Ross said. Not knowing
if the treatment is working can cause much
anxiety in a patient, he added.
"It is a huge psychological issue by going
through treatment for no reason. Is it work-
ing? You have no idea," Ross said.
Diffusion MRI has been used in other
applications, such as looking at the brain
tissue of stroke victims, but this University
study is one of the first to focus on brain
tumors and to utilize it for patients.
Ross said that any hospital that already
has an MRI could be set up to perform a dif-
fusion map by just adding software.
"Because it's a physical measurement, it is
a quantitative measurement. That is another
key aspect because you get a hard number
out and that number is translatable and will
be the same on any machine throughout the
world," Ross said.
Another contributor to the study, radia-
tion oncology Prof. Theodore Lawrence,
believes that diffusion mapping can do more
than simply predict early on if a given form
of treatment will be effective.
.'This test doesn't just tell who is or is not
responding to the treatment, but it also shows
the part of the tumor that is responding and
it shows the parts that are not responding,"
Lawrence said that knowing which parts
of the tumor are affected and not affected
by the treatment could allow doctors to spe-
cifically target different parts of the tumor in
different ways. One way this could be done
would be by the use of Intensity Modulated
Radiation Therapy, a type of radiotherapy
that can be focused on precise areas.
Presently, the researchers are working to
develop a model that will help estimate the
cost effectiveness of using MRI diffusion
mapping in conjunction with treatment for
brain cancer. They also aim to conduct addi-
tional trials of this study and to eventually
apply their findings to other types of tumors,
such as breast and throat cancer.
Continued from page 1A
through litigation, data collection and lobbying. The HLRP would
require one full-time attorney, whose salary would be funded by
the student fee increase.
Lewis said the HLRP would be able to monitor specific patterns of
complaints in Ann Arbor. For example, if the HLRP found a group of
tenants with a similar complaint about a realtor, it could file a class-
"Our office already does the day-to-day grunt work. We need
someone to keep track of larger trends and watch the big picture,"
Levine explained that the housing attorney would be able to act
on widespread campus problems, either by taking legal or legislative
"MSA is committed to improving off-campus housing for all U
of M students by providing increased legal landlord/tenant analysis
within the Ann Arbor community," Levine said.
In addition to the hope of implementing the HLRP, MSA recco-
mended a fee increase for expansion of SLS to protect international
students. Lewis explained that immigration law is a highly special-
ized area, and that it is better if SLS can provide a specialist to stu-
dents who are running into difficulty under immigration law.
A report was released by the Institute of International Education
late in 2004 that said for the first time in more than 30 years, the
number of international students in the United States had dropped.
The numbers at the University were lower than they have been in
previous years, although the school was still among the highest for
international student enrollment.
In a past article in The Michigan Daily, Dr. Rodolfo Altamirano,
Director of the International Center, attributed part of this decline
to difficulty in maintaining legal immigration status in the United
States following legislation introduced after the Sept. 1lth terrorist
attacks, such as the fees and application procedures for the Student
and Exchange Visitor Information System.
Levine said the rights of more than 4,000 international students are
a major priority for MSA over the next year.
"International students should not have to worry about challenges
to their status in Ann Arbor," Levine said.
Lewis said that there had been greater interest expressed to SLS
for cases involving international law. Lewis said the international
specialist would be able to save some students thousands of dollars
in legal services.
"We've been getting a lot of calls from students who have expressed
a fairly urgent need for representation in cases concerning interna-
Senapati said the current executive board and assembly feel that
protecting students in the University community and improving the
atmosphere are of the utmost importance. "These fee increases are
our number one priority," Senapati said.
MSA hopes to implement all these services by next semester.
Harper will make a reccomendation to the Regents, who will
eventually decide whether to approve the proposed increases.
Continued from page 1A
she stopped using Adderall, her motivation would
decrease and it would be harder for her to study.
"There was a time when I took so much that I was
(awake) for two days, and then I ran out. I took my
exam and did poorly because I was so tired," she said. "I
thought then it was kind of a problem, and I sometimes
worry, because it is really addictive.
"But I never thought about getting help, because so
many other people are doing it too. I don't feel abnor-
She said she feels Adderall is fairly widely accepted
by the student body, and that even students who are pre-
scribed the drug for medical purposes - such as her
roommate, who provides her with Adderall. - rarely
criticize users who don't have prescriptions.
"They get why you want to take it, because they know
it helps," she said.
Although she has experienced numerous side effects from
taking Adderall - like lack of sleep, irritability, headaches,
loss of appetite and antisocial feelings - these effects are
not enough to make her to stop using the drug.
"What it does for me is worth it," she said, adding that
she will most likely continue using Adderall throughout
But for other students, such as Art and Design soph-
omore Kara, Adderall's side effects outweigh the ben-
"I lost weight and was always wide awake. Taking the
pills made it very hard for me to sleep, and I would often
have to take more the next day to make up for the sleep I
had lost," Kara said.
Kara said that, although she felt more motivated, more
creative and more responsive when taking Adderall, she
eventually stopped taking it because she found the side
effects too unpleasant.
"I get more sleep now, and I don't freak out about
things as much. I'm less critical of myself," she said,
adding that her grades are about the same as they were
before she quit.
Unlike many other students, Kara said her Adderall
use decreased when she came to college.
"I really would only use them towards final times,
whereas in high school I was taking them almost every
day (of) my junior year," Kara said. "My friends always
had prescriptions, and they would either share them or let
me buy them from them.
"Some people wouldn't even use their prescriptions
- they would just sell all of their pills," she added. "I
know one kid who didn't even work, and it was his sole
Kara agreed that Adderall use seems widely accepted
at the University.
"My friends, at least, aren't very judgmental about
drug use," she said. "I don't really think of it as cheating
or anything. It's kind of sad, though, because I heard it
may get taken off the market due to its misuse, which is
unfortunate to the kids who really do need it."
A recent study conducted by the University's Sub-
stance Abuse Research Center and the Harvard School of
Public Health reported that 7 percent of college students
have used prescription stimulants - such as Ritalin,
Dexedrine and Adderall - for nonmedical purposes.
The study found that campuses with the highest
rates of nonmedical use of prescription stimulants have
competitive admissions criteria and high rates of binge
Students with GPAs of a 3.0 or lower were two times
more likely to engage in non-medical use than those
earning a higher GPA, the study reported.
RE . . 1OW .9 .. 8S
Trash Codes for the City of Ann Arbor
1. Place refuse & recycling at curb by 7 am. on the weekly
pickup day or the day before. Check online map for day.
2. Bag all refuse. All trash must be contained in plastic trash
bags at the curb, up to 50poundslbag. Don't block dumpsters.
- - - - - I . It .
Don't CRAM for FINALS on an empty stomach...
CALL THE DELIVERY BUTLER!