Scientist builds imager that identifies, locates individual cancer cells

Technology.am (Sept. 30, 2009) — Dave Wilson, a professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University, can identify a single cancer cell in preclinical imaging studies. And he can pinpoint exactly where the cell is located in a three-dimensional image.

CWRU_greyThe device called “Cryo-Imaging System” that enables them to identify single molecules, count the number of cells in an organ, compare a normal heart to an abnormal heart and more.

The cryo-imaging system literally disassembles real tissue layer by layer then reassembles the details into a cyber model. “You can’t meet this resolution from outside the body,” Wilson said.

In a paper published in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering, Wilson and co-authors describe cryo-imaging and the extensive software they wrote to enable them to zero in on single cells.

The detailed images can show the effectiveness of different drug therapies, gene therapies and cellular therapies in preclinical testing, Wilson said.

In this specific model, the software assembled images of the internal organs, showing the location of individual metastatic cancer cells in the adrenal gland. As the computer assembles the images, it sends text message updates to researchers.

If you’re only interested in the central nervous system, the vascular system or something less than a complete specimen, the imager has the capability of giving you exactly what you want, Wilson said.

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