(Credit - Image Courtesy of University of California - Los Angeles)
ScienceDaily brings news of a multi-disciplinary team developing yet another great new tool for scientists. It's a camera. A sensitive camera that captures images of cells. It's also a really fast camera. It's so fast it can accurately capture images of 100,000 cells per second. How fast is that? That's about 100X the best cellular camera in use today.
The numbers are impressive, but what's the real world application and translation into science? One example is to use the camera to screen blood samples to look for cancer cells. That use can be put to work as part of making decisions about ending radiation or chemotherapy or other treatments when cancer cells are no longer found. And, of course, the camera screening could be used in to look for cancer cells before a tumor becomes clinically apparent. Tools like this ultimately can be used to avoid vast amounts of misery, and to save vast amounts of money through better decision making when cancer has manifested, and through cancer prevention.
That's the big picture. Set out below are further specifics from the summary from ScienceDaily:
ScienceDaily (July 6, 2012) — The ability to distinguish and isolate rare cells from among a large population of assorted cells has become increasingly important for the early detection of disease and for monitoring disease treatments. Circulating cancer tumor cells are a perfect example. Typically, there are only a handful of them among a billion healthy cells, yet they are precursors to metastasis, the spread of cancer that causes about 90 percent of cancer mortalities. Such "rogue" cells are not limited to cancer -- they also include stem cells used for regenerative medicine and other cell types.