September 29, 2009

Scientist builds better cancer cell imager

A Case Western Reserve University professor says he has developed an imager than can identify and locate individual cancer cells.

Biomedical engineering Professor Dave Wilson says he was dissatisfied with blurry, low-sensitivity optical images of diseased tissues, so four years ago he set out to create a better imager. He says his new device can identify a single cancer cell in preclinical imaging studies and it can pinpoint exactly where the cell is located in a three-dimensional image.

Wilson said his system, called cryo-imaging, can disassemble real tissue layer by layer then reassemble the details into a cyber model.

You can't meet this resolution from outside the body, Wilson said, noting the images are in color, which provides more detail than the gray scale used in other devices such as magnetic resonance imaging.

Wilson and his colleagues describe the imager and the software they wrote to operate it in the journal Annals of Biomedical Engineering.