Lasers used to measure stiffness of cells to detect cancer

Most often, atypical stiffness or softness of a cell or tissue works as a marker of the occurrence of cancer, which otherwise appears as a healthy tissue. At present, there are tools available in the market that can determine the elasticity of a given tissue but they require a huge digit of cells at a single time. A research team at the Duke University has designed a sensor that can rapidly estimate the stiffness of single cells in a given sample without a need to squeeze them.

The basic lies in recognizing what makes a cell stiffer in comparison to the other and then calculating those factors with the aid of a camera and lasers. It is observed that quantity of structural order inside the cell is directly relative to its stiffness, thus by merely passing a laser via the cells and evaluating how the light’s refractive index alters is suggestive of the interior order of the cell and hence, its overall stiffness.

To assess cellular disorder, the team beamed a laser via a cell and compared it to other, unhindered beam. The variations in the total time taken by the two lasers to pass across the sample are examined to create an image, suggesting how much disordered the internal structures of a cell are. To verify if the theory functioned, the team evaluated the phase disorders in 5 distinct kinds of cancer cells just before calculating the stiffness of these cells with already verified Jell-O mold method. The results demonstrated a high degree of correlation.

However, more study is required to assess the precise relationship between the two measurements, but the team is hopeful that this method can be converted into novel biomedical equipment for cancer diagnosis. Adam Wax, said, “It is already acknowledged that cellular stiffness is a marker of cancer, but no feasible diagnostic tool is available that can utilize that data on a cellular scale. With this method, I can vision a course of producing a high-throughput tool that can easily and rapidly detect for esophageal, colon, or cervical, or cancer.”

Hence, this can be a reliable method that doesn’t need a physical contact with the less and comparatively requires less time to diagnose. It can be very helpful, isn’t it?