Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers use light to measure cancer cells' response to treatment

Date:
December 23, 2011
Source:
Optical Society of America
Summary:
Many cancer therapies target specific proteins that proliferate on the outside of some cancer cells, but the therapies are imperfect and the cancer does not always respond. Researchers have now demonstrated a new way to optically test cultured cancer cells' response to a particular cancer drug.

This optical redox ratio image visualizes the metabolism of HER2 overexpressing breast cancer cells. The brighter yellow color indicates areas of altered metabolism.
Credit: Alex Walsh, Vanderbilt University

Many cancer therapies target specific proteins that proliferate on the outside of some cancer cells, but the therapies are imperfect and the cancer does not always respond. Since it is beneficial for doctors to know as soon as possible how a cancer is affected by treatment, researchers from Vanderbilt University are striving to design tests that assess treatment response rapidly, accurately, and cost-effectively. The team has demonstrated a new way to optically test cultured cancer cells' response to a particular cancer drug.

The results appear in the December issue of the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express.

Certain cancer cells display a higher-than-normal number of proteins called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). In healthy cells, HER2 helps mediate cell growth, but overexpression of HER2 can mark one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. Drugs that bind to and block growth factor receptors have been shown to prolong life in some cancer patients, but about 30 percent of HER2 overexpressing tumors do not respond to the drug. Tests to identify these non-responding tumors early on would help doctors make important treatment decisions that could improve patient outcomes.

To design such a test, the Vanderbilt team took advantage of the fact that some cancer cells preferentially use a different metabolic pathway when compared to normal cells. The researchers visualized the relative use of the different pathways by shining the cells with frequencies of light that caused two different metabolic molecules to naturally fluoresce. They then calculated a ratio between the two levels of fluorescence, called an optical redox ratio. The team found that, of the different cell lines they tested, HER2 overexpressing cells had the highest optical redox ratio. They also found that when HER2 cancer cells were treated with an HER2-blocking drug, the ratio decreased. This decrease, however, was not observed in cancer cells that were resistant to the drug. The findings lay the groundwork for future in vivo studies and hold the promise that real-time tumor response to treatment might be measured optically.


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. Alex Walsh, Rebecca S. Cook, Brent Rexer, Carlos L. Arteaga, Melissa C. Skala. Optical imaging of metabolism in HER2 overexpressing breast cancer cells. Biomedical Optics Express, 2011; 3 (1): 75 DOI: 10.1364/BOE.3.000075

Cite This Page:

Optical Society of America. "Researchers use light to measure cancer cells' response to treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111220133755.htm>.
Optical Society of America. (2011, December 23). Researchers use light to measure cancer cells' response to treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111220133755.htm
Optical Society of America. "Researchers use light to measure cancer cells' response to treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111220133755.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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