3D cell viewing could lead to cancer treatment 



A breakthrough in the US allowing scientists to viewing live cells in 3D could provide a new way of treating cancer. 

Until now, there has been no way of looking at single cells in a living body, says Adam de la Zerda, a researcher at Stanford and senior author on the paper. 

But a team of scientists have now been able to view intricate real-time, 3D details of the lymph and blood vessels of a living animal. 

Tagging cells

The technique, called molecular imaging and characterisation of tissue noninvasively at cellular Resolution (MOZART), could allow detection of tumours in the skin, colon or oesophagus. 

Doctors could use it to see how tumours are responding to treatment and how individual cells break free from a tumour and spread through the body. 

The team attached long, gold ‘nanorods’ to cells. The nanorods are tiny particles that react differently to the surrounding tissue and cells. 

In this case, they vibrate and scatter light, which the microscope detects. 

The technique was tested on the ear of a living mouse. The team were able to watch as the nanorods were taken up into the lymph system and transported through a network of valves. 

In one study, they were able to watch individual valves in lymph vessels open and close to control the flow of fluid in a single direction.

The next step

The next step is to find a way of attaching the nanorods to specific kinds of cells, such as skin cancer. 

This would allow doctors to evaluate how treatments are working in individual patients, something that previously hadn't been possible.

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