Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanoscopic Changes To Pancreatic Cells Reveal Cancer

Date:
February 23, 2009
Source:
Optical Society of America
Summary:
Scientists have developed a way to examine cell biopsies and detect never-before-seen signs of early-stage pancreatic cancer, according to a new article. Though the new technique has not yet proven effective in double-blind clinical trials, it may one day help diagnose cancers of the pancreas and, potentially, other organs at their earliest and most treatable stages, before they spread.

A team of researchers in Chicago has developed a way to examine cell biopsies and detect never-before-seen signs of early-stage pancreatic cancer, according to a new paper in the journal Optics Letters.

Related Articles


Though the new technique has not yet proven effective in double-blind clinical trials, it may one day help diagnose cancers of the pancreas and, potentially, other organs at their earliest and most treatable stages, before they spread.

A team from Northwestern University and NorthShore University HealthSystem (formerly Evanston Northwestern Healthcare) describes the first application of their new technique in the journal, which they call partial wave microscopic spectroscopy. This technique allows them to examine cell samples taken from people who have undergone screening for pancreatic cancer to detect signs of the disease.

Pancreatic cancer is typically diagnosed by hospital pathologists who look for telltale changes to the morphology of pancreatic cells when they examine cell biopsies under the microscope. The problem is that in the early stages of cancer, many early-stage cancer cells appear normal. By the time the cancerous cells undergo observable changes, it may be too late in the disease progression for effective treatment.

In fact, only 7 percent of people with pancreatic cancer are diagnosed in the earliest stages of the disease, when the cancer is still confined to its primary site. More than half of all people with the disease are not diagnosed until it has already metastasized.

"In the beginning, cells look normal," says Vadim Backman, a professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern University who developed partial wave microscopic spectroscopy with his former graduate students Yang Liu and Hariharan Subramanian and postdoctoral fellow Prabhakar Pradhan. The new technique measures nanoscopic changes to the interior architecture of cells -- changes that may signal signs of cancer even in cells that look normal under the microscope.

To test their technique, Backman and Subramanian collaborated with gastroenterologists Hemant K. Roy and Randall Brand, who had collected tissue samples from people undergoing biopsies to detect pancreatic cancer.

The new technique works by detecting fluctuations in the cells' refractive index (an optical property that measures how cells bend light passing through them). No other technique has ever measured this quantitatively, says Backman. These fluctuations are influenced by nanoscopic changes to the cells' interior architecture that often occur much earlier than the changes pathologists can detect under their microscopes. The more architectural disorder there is inside the cell, the more the refractive index fluctuates.

The Chicago researchers showed that by quantifying these fluctuations, partial wave spectroscopy could identify cancer cells even in cases where they had not been detected by pathologists.

Partial wave microscopic spectroscopy may be a boon to medicine, if it proves effective in clinical trials at detecting cancers early -- especially for people with pancreatic cancer, which is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 37,000 men and women in the United States were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2008, and statistically 95 percent of them will succumb to the disease within five years.

The research was funded by a National Science Foundation SGER grant, the National Institutes of Health and the V Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Optical Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Hariharan Subramanian et al. Partial wave microscopic spectroscopy detects sub-wavelength refractive index fluctuations: an application to cancer diagnosis. Optics Letters, Vol. 34, No. 4, Feb. 15, 2009

Cite This Page:

Optical Society of America. "Nanoscopic Changes To Pancreatic Cells Reveal Cancer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090213070553.htm>.
Optical Society of America. (2009, February 23). Nanoscopic Changes To Pancreatic Cells Reveal Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090213070553.htm
Optical Society of America. "Nanoscopic Changes To Pancreatic Cells Reveal Cancer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090213070553.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The CDC is urging people to get vaccinated for measles amid an outbreak that began at Disneyland and has now infected more than 90 people. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) President Obama is expected to speak with drugmakers Friday about his Precision Medicine Initiative first introduced last week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The U.S. has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins