Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Mass Spectrometry
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Chemical Imaging Brings Cancer Tissue Analysis into the Digital Age

Published: Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 08, 2014
Bookmark and Share
A new method for analysing biological samples based on their chemical makeup is set to transform the way medical scientists examine diseased tissue.

When tests are carried out on a patient's tissue today, such as to look for cancer, the test has to be interpreted by a histology specialist, and can take weeks to obtain a full result.

Mass spectrometry imaging (MSI) uses technologies that reveal how hundreds or thousands of chemical components are distributed in a tissue sample. Scientists have proposed using MSI to identify tissue types for many years, but until now, no method has been devised to apply such technology to any type of tissue.

In this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at Imperial College London have outlined a recipe for processing MSI data and building a database of tissue types. 

In MSI, a beam moves across the surface of a sample, producing a pixelated image. Each pixel contains data on thousands of chemicals present in that part of the sample. By analysing many samples and comparing them to the results of traditional histological analysis, a computer can learn to identify different types of tissue.

A single test taking a few hours can provide much more detailed information than standard histological tests, for example showing not just if a tissue is cancerous, what the type and sub-type of cancer, which can be important for choosing the best treatment. The technology can also be applied in research to offer new insights into cancer biology.

Dr Kirill Veselkov, corresponding author of the study from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, said: "MSI is an extremely promising technology, but the analysis required to provide information that doctors or scientists can interpret easily is very complex. This work overcomes some of the obstacles to translating MSI's potential into the clinic. It's the first step towards creating the next generation of fully automated histological analysis."

Dr Zoltan Takats, from the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, said: "This technology can change the fundamental paradigm of histology. Instead of defining tissue types by their structure, we can define them by their chemical composition. This method is independent of the user - it's based on numerical data, rather than a specialist's eyes - and it can tell you much more in one test than histology can show in many tests." 

Professor Jeremy Nicholson, Head of the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, said: "There have been relatively few major changes in the way we study tissue sample pathology since the late 19th century, when staining techniques were used to show tissue structure. Such staining methods are still the mainstay of hospital histopathology; they have become much more sophisticated but they are slow and expensive to do and require considerable expertise to interpret.

"Multivariate chemical imaging that can sense abnormal tissue chemistry in one clean sweep offers a transformative opportunity in terms of diagnostic range, speed and cost, which is likely to impact on future pathology services and to improve patient safety."

The technology will also be useful in drug development. To study where a new drug is absorbed in the body, pharmaceutical scientists attach a radioactive label to the drug molecule, then look at where the radiation can be detected in a laboratory animal. If the label is detached when the drug is processed in the body, it is impossible to determine how and where the drug has been metabolised. MSI would allow researchers to look for the drug and any metabolic products in the body, without using radioactive labels.

The research was funded by Imperial College London's Junior Research Fellowship scheme, awarded to Dr Kirill A. Veselkov; the National Institute for Health Research Imperial Biomedical Research Centre and the European Research Council.


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

New Laboratory Aims to Revolutionise Surgery with Real-Time Metabolic Profiling
Metabolic profiling of tissue samples could transform the way surgeons make decisions in the operating theatre, say researchers at a new laboratory being launched today.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
MAGIC Facilities are set to Make Imperial World Leader in Isotope Geochemistry
Tackling climate change, combating pollution and developing a deeper understanding of Parkinson’s disease are just some of the areas of research that will benefit from the official opening today of new laboratories at Imperial College London.
Monday, March 23, 2009
New Technology Paves the Way for the Future of Identifying Proteins inside Cells
A new technology which enables scientists to identify proteins by making a map of the energy flow inside the protein is revealed in PNAS journal.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Scientific News
Mass Spec Technology Drives Innovation Across the Biopharma Workflow
With greater resolving power, analytical speed, and accuracy, new mass spectrometry technology and techniques are infiltrating the biopharmaceuticals workflow.
Peer Reviewed Study Demonstrates Mass Spec Technique
The peer reviewed study demonstrates MS workflow, TMTCalibrator workflow, which dramatically enhances detection of key early stage Alzheimer’s biomarkers.
Impact of Emerging Contaminants in Our Water Supply
Emerging contaminants, any synthetic or naturally occurring chemical not commonly monitored in the environment, in our water supply are becoming of increasing concern due to their potential ecological and/or human health effects.
Collaboration to Develop Cannabis Testing Standards
SCIEX workflow solution enables cannabis labs to ensure product safety with robust, cost-effective analytical methods to facilitate routine testing.
Antibiotic Resistance Genes in Indoor Dust
Genetic analyisis of dust samples discovered antimicrobial chemicals and antibiotic-resistance genes.
Sharks Contain High Levels of Neurotoxins Linked to Alzheimer’s
Research team suggests restricting shark consumption to protect human health as shark fins & meat contain high levels of neurotoxins.
Peptide Mutants Help Identify Vulnerability in Tumor Cells
Researchers can detect mutant proteins based on MS data and the results of exome sequencing.
Diverse Fungi Secrete Similar Suite of Decomposition Enzymes
A recent study reveals different fungal species secrete a rich set of enzymes that share similar functions, despite species-specific differences in the amino acid sequences of these enzymes.
Misfiring Drugs Hit the Wrong Targets
Anti-HIV protein inhibitor drugs can bind to the wrong protein, causing unwanted side effects.
Spotting Falsified, Degraded Medications
A team of researchers has developed a simple, inexpensive paper-based device to screen suspicious medications.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,000+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!