Satellite Banner
Genomics
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 4,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,300+ 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

Leukaemia Cell Movement Gives Clues to Tackling Treatment-Resistant Disease
Researchers at Imperial College London have suggested that the act of moving itself may help the cells to survive, possibly through short-lived interactions with an array of our own cells.
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Blood Pressure Drug May Boost Effectiveness of Lung Cancer Treatment
Researchers at Imperial College London have suggested that the blood pressure drug may make a type of lung cancer treatment more effective.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Supplement May Switch off Cravings for High-Calorie Foods
Researchers have found that inulin-propionate ester supplement curbs cravings for junk food.
Saturday, July 02, 2016
Gene Expression Controls Revealed
Researchers have modelled every atom in a key part of the process for switching on genes, revealing a whole new area for potential drug targets.
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Switching Off Cancers' Ability to Spread
A key molecule in breast and lung cancer cells can help switch off the cancers' ability to spread around the body.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Fossil Find Reveals Just How Big Carnivorous Dinosaur May Have Grown
Researchers at imperial college London have said that an unidentified fossilised bone in a museum has revealed the size of a fearsome Abelisaur and may solve a hundred-year-old puzzle.
Tuesday, March 01, 2016
‘Simple Rules’ Calculate Ovarian Cancer Risk
Scientists have formulated a system that uses ultrasound images to accurately work out the likelihood of an ovarian growth being cancerous.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Intelligence ‘Networks’ Discovered in Brain for the First Time
Scientists from Imperial College London have identified for the first time two clusters of genes linked to human intelligence.
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Modified Mosquitoes Could Help Fight Against Malaria
The results are published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
New Technique Negotiates Neuron Jungle To Target Source Of Parkinson’s Disease
Researchers from Imperial College London and Newcastle University believe they have found a potential new way to target cells of the brain affected by Parkinson’s disease.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Designer Molecule Shines a Spotlight on Mysterious Four-Stranded DNA
A small fluorescent molecule has shed new light on knots of DNA thought to play a role in regulating how genes are switched on and off.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
New Drug Target Identified for Serious Heart and Lung Condition
A gene has been identified that sheds new light on a potentially fatal heart and lung condition and could lead to a new treatment.
Friday, August 14, 2015
Scientists Find New Variant of Streptococcal Bacteria Causing Severe Infections
Researchers noticed a sharp rise in infections caused by emm89.
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Gene Therapy for Cystic Fibrosis Shows Encouraging Trial Results
A therapy that replaces the faulty gene responsible for cystic fibrosis in patients' lungs has produced encouraging results in a major UK trial.
Friday, July 03, 2015
New Genetic Form of Obesity and Diabetes Discovered
Scientists have discovered a new inherited form of obesity and type 2 diabetes in humans.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Scientific News
Big Genetics in BC: The American Society for Human Genetics 2016 Meeting
Themes at this year's meeting ranged from the verification, validation, and sharing of data, to the translation of laboratory findings into actionable clinical results.
Cancer Genetics: Key to Diagnosis, Therapy
When applied judiciously, cancer genetics directs caregivers to the right drug at the right time, while sparing patients of unnecessary or harmful treatments.
Exploring the Genome of the River Blindness Parasite
Researchers have decoded the genome of the parasite that causes the skin and eye infection known as river blindness.
Gene Editing Yields Tomatoes That Ripen Weeks Earlier
Research team develop method to make tomato plants flower and ripen fruit two weeks faster than current growth rates.
Study Reveals New Role for Hippo Pathway in Suppressing Cancer Immunity
Hippo pathway signaling regulates organ size by moderating cell growth, apoptosis and stem cell renewal, but dysregulation contributes to cancer development.
Gene-Editing Improves Vision in Blind Rats
Scientists developed a targeted gene-replacement technique that can modify genes in both dividing and non-dividing cells in living animals.
Genetic Links to Brain Cancer Cell Growth
Researchers discover clues to tumour behaviour from genetic differences between brain cancer cells and normal tissue cells.
Unexpected Role for Epigenetic Enzymes in Cancer
Researchers use epigenetics to identify the role of an enzyme family as regulators of genetic message interpretation in yeast.
Gene Therapy Maintains Clotting Factor for Hemophilia Patients
Following a single gene therapy dose, the highest levels of an essential blood clotting factor IX were observed in hemophilia B patients.
Tissue Damage Is Key for Cell Reprogramming
Researchers have shown tissue damage is important for cells to return to an embryonic state for cell reprogramming.
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
4,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,300+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!