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Holographic imaging for rapidly sorting stem cells, cancer cells
kurzweilai.net ^ | 3/25/2014

Posted on 03/25/2014 7:03:07 AM PDT by RoosterRedux

MIT scientists have developed a way to image cells (without fluorescent markers or other labels) as they flow through a tiny microfluidic channel for sorting.

This is an important step toward cell-sorting systems that could help scientists separate stem cells at varying stages of development, or to distinguish healthy cells from cancerous cells, the scientists say.

Other cell-sorting methods require adding a fluorescent molecule that highlights the cells of interest, but those tags can damage the cells and make them unsuitable for therapeutic uses.

The new method is based on a 2007 microscopy development that allowed the scientists to detail the interior of a living cell in three dimensions, without adding any fluorescent markers or other labels. This technique also revealed key properties, such as the cells’ density.

Sorting stem cells

“Many stem cell applications require sorting of cells at different stages of differentiation. This can be done with fluorescent staining, but once you stain the cells they cannot be used,” says Yongjin Sung, a former postdoc in MIT’s Laser Biomedical Research Center and lead author of a paper describing the technique in the inaugural issue of the journal PRApplied.

“With our approach, you can utilize a vast amount of information about the 3-D distribution of the cells’ mass to sort them.”

Instead of using fluorescent tags, the MIT method analyzes the cells’ index of refraction — a measurement of how much the speed of light is reduced as it passes through a material. Every material has a distinctive index of refraction, and this property can be used, along with cells’ volume, to calculate their mass and density.

(Excerpt) Read more at kurzweilai.net ...


TOPICS: Health/Medicine
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1 posted on 03/25/2014 7:03:07 AM PDT by RoosterRedux
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