metal detection helped mining companies to find gold and to ensure security at airports. Now, scientists from the University of Southern California want to use this method for the study of cancer.
By visualizing antibody biopsy from a patient with metastatic prostate cancer, researchers have created a detailed digital facsimile images of cancer cells, which can pass through the body. Metal labels on the antibodies will allow scientists to identify and characterize cancer cells in a blood sample.
In a study published in Convergent Science Physical Oncology, it was found that metal detection technology allows scientist visible and scattered circulating tumor cells at a new molecular level. Generate detailed copies of tumors will help researchers develop more precise treatment programs for individual patients.
Thanks to their work, scientists seek to shed light on how cancer spreads through the body and evolves over time. Such findings have led to the improvement of personalized care for patients when treatment is adapted depending on the particular form of cancer.
Cancer extends through and scattered circulating tumor cells that break away from the original source, such as a tumor in a breast or prostate. These tumor cells spread to organs such as the liver or lungs. There are metastases, which are difficult to treat.
Until now, researchers have relied on fluorescence microscopy, fluorescent antibody staining the cells and then studied them under a microscope. Fluorescence microscopy is useful, but the use of limited number of colors.
Due Fluidigm Hyperion Imaging System to monitor the biology of cancer cells, the researchers were able to see the protein biomarkers that may help determine how tumor cells respond to therapy and how it can affect the immune system of the patient.
The new approach of using antibodies labeled with metal, and laser ablation system in conjunction with a mass spectrometer, enable scientists to monitor 35 different metal labels simultaneously.
When it comes to the study of circulating and disseminated tumor cells, scientists must be able to zoom in or out, to fully understand how they behave and how to apply.
Researchers from the University of Zurich evaluated the potential use of metals for cancer assessment as early as 2013.
"Bernd Bodenmiller devoted to research on how to use metals that are attached to the antibody. We expanded them by using his approach with a liquid biopsy, which we developed earlier - said Dr. Kuhn. - We then use a laser to vaporize the sample and a mass spectrometer to search for each metal. And this is only the beginning. Soon there will be hundreds of studies on this technique. "