Next, using a high-speed scanner, the array is scanned at precise time intervals to establish rates of oxygen consumption, extracellular pH change, and glucose uptake. These values are pertinent to cancer metabolism, normal cell development and a wide array of human pathologies. Ultimately, intracellular fluorescent sensors can be used to augment the range of detectable parameters, including ATP.
Meldrum stresses the importance of heterogeneity within cell populationsthe behavior of atypical, aberrant cells often being the most critical for the purposes of accurate disease detection. Such aberrant cells are precisely those that are often averaged out when bulk cell study techniques are used. "With our live single cell technologies and experiments we hope to elucidate key biological pathways that will help us understand cancer and other diseases, and lead us to successful diagnoses for early detection and ultimately improved qualify of life," states Meldrum.
The Cellarium holds the potential for significant improvements in the understanding of single-cell behavior, including the study of tumor formation and the abnormally high rate of glucose-degradation to form ATP (glycosylation) observed in cancer cellsa symptom known as the Warburg effect. The Cellarium could also be a boon to pharmaceutical companies attempting to personalize their therapeutics based on pathogen detection and microbial analysis.
After future refinements, the group plans to commercialize the platform, providing both researchers and clinical diagnosticians with a unique tool for probing single-cell dynamics.
|Contact: Joseph Caspermeyer|
Arizona State University