Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC
PZ HTL SA
GLOBETECH PUBLISHING LLC

New Imaging Technology Could Reveal Cellular Mysteries

By BiotechDaily International staff writers
Posted on 21 May 2013
Researchers have fused two biologic imaging technologies, creating a new approach to determine how healthy cells turn malignant.

“Let’s say you have a large population of cells,” said Dr. Corey Neu, an assistant professor in Purdue University’s (West Lafayette, IN, USA) Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. “Just one of them might metastasize or proliferate, forming a cancerous tumor. We need to understand what it is that gives rise to that one bad cell.”

This new development makes it possible to simultaneously evaluate the mechanical and biochemical characteristics of cells, which could provide new clues into disease processes, according to biomedical engineering postdoctoral fellow Charilaos Mousoulis. Being able to study a cell’s internal mechanisms in precise detail would in all probably provide insights into the physical and biochemical responses to its environment. The technology, which combines an atomic force microscope and nuclear magnetic resonance system (MRI), could help researchers study individual cancer cells, for example, to uncover mechanisms leading up to cancer metastasis for research and diagnostics.

The prototype’s capabilities were demonstrated by taking nuclear magnetic resonance spectra of hydrogen atoms in water. Findings represent a proof of concept of the technology and were published in a research paper that appeared online April 11, 2013, in the journal Applied Physics Letters. “You could detect many different types of chemical elements, but in this case hydrogen is nice to detect because it’s abundant,” Dr. Neu said. “You could detect carbon, nitrogen and other elements to get more detailed information about specific biochemistry inside a cell.”

An atomic force microscope (AFM) uses a tiny vibrating probe called a cantilever to provide data about substances and surfaces on the scale of nanometers (billionths of a meter). Because the instrument enables scientists to visualize objects far smaller than possible using light microscopes, it could be suitable for studying molecules, cell membranes and other biologic structures.

However, the AFM does not provide information about the chemical and biologic properties of cells. Therefore, the researchers constructed a metal microcoil on the AFM cantilever. An electrical current is passed though the coil, causing it to exchange electromagnetic radiation with protons in molecules within the cell and inducing another current in the coil, which is detected.

The Purdue researchers performed “mechanobiology” experiments to find out how forces exerted on cells influence their behavior. In work focusing on osteoarthritis, their research includes the study of cartilage cells from the knee to determine how they interact with the complex matrix of structures and biochemistry between cells.

Future research might include studying cells in microfluidic chambers to assess how they respond to specific drugs and environmental changes. A US patent application has been filed for the concept.

Related Links:
Purdue University



comments powered by Disqus

Channels

Genomics/Proteomics

view channel

New Program Encourages Wide Distribution of Genomic Data

A new data sharing program allows genomics researchers and practitioners to analyze, visualize, and share raw sequence data for individual patients or across populations straight from a local browser. The sequencing revolution is providing the raw data required to identify the genetic variants underlying rare diseases... Read more

Drug Discovery

view channel
Image: The nano-cocoon drug delivery system is biocompatible, specifically targets cancer cells, can carry a large drug load, and releases the drugs very quickly once inside the cancer cell. Ligands on the surface of the \"cocoon\" trick cancer cells into consuming it. Enzymes (the “worms\" in this image) inside the cocoon are unleashed once inside the cell, destroying the cocoon and releasing anticancer drugs into the cell (Photo courtesy of Dr. Zhen Gu, North Carolina State University).

Novel Anticancer Drug Delivery System Utilizes DNA-Based Nanocapsules

A novel DNA-based drug delivery system minimizes damage to normal tissues by utilizing the acidic microenvironment inside cancer cells to trigger the directed release of the anticancer drug doxorubicin (DOX).... Read more

Business

view channel

Interest in Commercial Applications for Proteomics Continues to Grow

Increasing interest in the field of proteomics has led to a series of agreements between private proteomic companies and academic institutions as well as deals between pharmaceutical companies and novel proteomics innovator biotech companies. Proteomics is the study of the structure and function of proteins.... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.