Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New technique improves accuracy, ease of cancer diagnosis

Date:
November 21, 2013
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
A team of researchers has demonstrated a technique, deformability cytometry, that measures the physical properties of individual cells and can diagnose cancer from body fluids with very high 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.
Credit: UCLA

A team of researchers from UCLA and Harvard University 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 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 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 in 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 amount 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 and, as a result, "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.

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."

Dr. 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.

Di Carlo and Rao are members of the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and of the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA. The paper's lead author was Henry TK Tse, a postdoctoral scholar in bioengineering at UCLA.

Using the large amount of cellular data, co-authors Ryan Adams, an assistant professor of computer science at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Harvard undergraduate student Yo Sup Moon connected how the distribution of individual cells' properties correlate with a cancer diagnosis.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. H. T. K. Tse, D. R. Gossett, Y. S. Moon, M. Masaeli, M. Sohsman, Y. Ying, K. Mislick, R. P. Adams, J. Rao, D. Di Carlo. Quantitative Diagnosis of Malignant Pleural Effusions by Single-Cell Mechanophenotyping. Science Translational Medicine, 2013; 5 (212): 212ra163 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3006559

Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "New technique improves accuracy, ease of cancer diagnosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121135631.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2013, November 21). New technique improves accuracy, ease of cancer diagnosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121135631.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "New technique improves accuracy, ease of cancer diagnosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121135631.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
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