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

New Technique Diagnoses Cancer from Bodily Fluids

Published: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Last Updated: Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Harvard researchers contributed machine learning techniques to improve UCLA diagnostic tool.

A team of researchers from Harvard University and the University of California, Los Angeles, have demonstrated a technique that, by measuring the physical properties of individual cells in body fluids, can diagnose cancer with a high degree of accuracy.

The technique, which uses a deformability cytometer to analyze individual cells, could reduce the need for more cumbersome diagnostic procedures and the associated costs, while improving accuracy over current methods. The initial clinical study, which analyzed pleural fluid samples from more than 100 patients, was published in the current issue of the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine.

Pleural fluid, a natural lubricant of the lungs as they expand and contract during breathing, is normally present in spaces surrounding the lungs. Medical conditions such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and cancer can cause an abnormally large buildup of the fluid, which is called a pleural effusion.

When cytopathologists screen for cancer in pleural effusions, they perform a visual analysis of prepared cells extracted from the fluid. Preparing cells for this analysis can involve complicated and time-consuming dyeing or molecular labeling, and the tests often do not definitively determine the presence of tumor cells. As a result, additional costly tests often are required.

The method used to assess the cells in the UCLA–Harvard study, developed previously by the UCLA researchers, requires little sample preparation, relying instead on the imaging of cells as they flow through microscale fluid conduits.

Imagine squeezing two balloons, one filled with water and one filled with honey. The balloons would feel different and would deform differently in your grip. The researchers used this principle on the cellular level by using a fluid grip to "squeeze" individual cells that are 10,000 times smaller than balloons—a technique called "deformability cytometry." The extent of a cell’s compression can provide insights about the cell's makeup or structure, such as the elasticity of its membrane or the resistance to flow of the DNA or proteins inside it. Cancer cells have a different architecture and are softer than healthy cells; as a result, they "deform" differently.

Using deformability cytometry, researchers can analyze more than 1,000 cells per second as they are suspended in a flowing fluid, providing significantly more detail on the variations within each patient's sample than could be detected using previous physical analysis techniques. Skillfully manipulating this large amount of cellular data, coauthors Ryan Adams, assistant professor of computer science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Harvard undergraduate Yo Sup (Joseph) Moon connected how the distribution of individual cells’ properties correlate with a cancer diagnosis.

The researchers also noted that the more detailed information they obtained improved the sensitivity of the test: Some patient samples that were not identified as cancerous via traditional methods were found to be so through deformability cytometry. These results were verified six months later.

"Building off of these results, we are starting studies with many more patients to determine if this could be a cost-effective diagnostic tool and provide even more detailed information about cancer origin," said Dino Di Carlo, associate professor of bioengineering at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science and a co-principal investigator on the research. "It could help to reduce laboratory workload and accelerate diagnosis, as well as offer doctors a new way to improve clinical decision making."

Jianyu Rao, professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the other co-principal investigator on the research, said the technique could potentially be used in a number of clinical settings to help manage cancer patients.

"First, it may increase diagnostic accuracy for the detection of cancer cells in body fluid samples," Rao said. "Second, it may provide a method of initial screening for cancer in body fluid samples in places with limited resources or a lack of experienced cytologists. Third, it may provide a test to determine the drug sensitivity of cancer cells."

Rao added that additional large-scale clinical studies are needed to further validate this technique for each of those applications.


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 3,200+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,700+ 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

A New Platform for Discovering Antibiotics
Harvard chemists hope to shorten time, difficulty in measuring their effectiveness, potential.
Monday, May 23, 2016
New Weapon Against Breast Cancer
Molecular marker in healthy tissue can predict a woman’s risk of getting the disease, research says.
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Collaboration to Develop Cancer Therapeutics
Major license agreement with Merck, enabled by Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator, aims to develop therapy for most common form of acute leukemia.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Seeing Hope
Gene therapy/drug combo restores some vision in mice with optic nerve injury.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Inroads Against Leukaemia
Potential for halting disease in molecule isolated from sea sponges.
Thursday, October 01, 2015
Delivering Hope in Ovarian Cancer
Gene therapy blocked chemoresistant tumor growth in mice.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Zebrafish Reveal Drugs that may Improve Bone Marrow Transplant
Compounds boost stem cell engraftment; could allow more matches for patients with cancer and blood diseases.
Monday, July 27, 2015
The Secrets of Secretion
Researchers have hacked nature's blueprints to create a new technology that could have broad-reaching impact on drug delivery systems and self-healing and anti-fouling materials.
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Beyond Average
Researchers have created new platforms to genetically barcode tens of thousands of cells at a time allowing unprecedented detail to be uncovered when studying whole tissue samples.
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
One Molecule at a Time
The ability to study single molecules provides tangible targets for personalised medicine.
Monday, May 18, 2015
Malaria in 3-D
Advanced imaging aids study of cell movement.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
A Marker for Breast Cancer
Research says it soon may be possible to gauge individual risk for disease, and eventually to treat it.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Harvard Announces $50 Million Gift from the Blavatnik Family Foundation
Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator will be a catalyst to transform basic scientific discoveries into new therapies and cures.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013
Scientific News
Platelets are the Pathfinders for Leukocyte Extravasation During Inflammation
Findings from the study could help in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory pathologies.
Benchtop Automation Trends
Gain a better understanding of current interest in and future deployment of benchtop automated systems.
Penn State, TB Alliance, and GSK Partner To Discover New Treatments For TB
A new collaboration between TB Alliance, GSK, and scientists in the Eberly College of Science seeks to find new small molecules that can be used to create antibiotics in the fight against tuberculosis (TB).
Molecular Map Provides Clues To Zinc-Related Diseases
Mapping the molecular structure where medicine goes to work is a crucial step toward drug discovery against deadly diseases.
Genetic Research Can Significantly Improve Drug Development
With drug development costs topping $1.2bn (£850 million) to get a single treatment to the point it can be sold and used in the clinic, could genetic analysis save hundreds of millions of dollars?
New Method Opens Door to Development of Many New Medicines
Findings from TSRI reveal human proteins are better drug targets than previously thought.
Diagnosing Systemic Infections Quickly, Reliably
Team develop rapid and specific diagnostic assay that could help physicians decide within an hour whether a patient has a systemic infection and should be hospitalized for aggressive intervention therapy.
What Makes a Good Scientist?
It’s the journey, not just the destination that counts as a scientist when conducting research.
Blood Test That Detects Early Alzheimer’s Disease
A research team, led by Dr. Robert Nagele from Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine and Durin Technologies, Inc., has announced the development of a blood test that leverages the body’s immune response system to detect an early stage of Alzheimer’s disease – referred to as the mild cognitive impairment (MCI) stage – with unparalleled accuracy.
A New Approach to Chemical Synthesis
Communesins, originally found in fungus, could hold potential as cancer drugs.
SELECTBIO

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
3,200+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!