Despite advances in both the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, the disease remains a leading worldwide health concern.
Now, a new imaging technology under investigation at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University may help researchers pinpoint subtle aberrations in cell nuclear structure, the molecular biosignature of cancer, thus significantly improving diagnostic accuracy and prognosis by providing early detection of the disease.
The team, led by Professor Deirdre Meldrum, ASU Senior Scientist and Director of the Center for Biosignatures Discovery Automation at Biodesign has examined normal, benign and malignant cells, using the first and only research Cell-CT (VisionGate, Inc., Phoenix, AZ)a specialized instrument capable of imaging cells in vivid 3-D with true isotropic resolution. The technology permits the examination of subtle cellular details inaccessible by more conventional forms of microscopy that are inherently 2-D.
The group's findings appear in today's issue of the journal PLoS ONE.
The 3-D movie images of cells observed in the study reveal numerous telltale traces of their condition as normal or aberrant. Professor Meldrum says "there are numerous quantitative morphological parameters that are indicative of disease and may be used as biosignatures for disease staging and diagnosis. For example, a cancerous cell typically has an enlarged nucleus, nuclear invaginations, chromosome mutations, and unique nuclear shape changes."
Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in women. In 2011, an estimated 232, 000 new cases were diagnosed and some 39,000 fatalities occurred. Over a normal lifetime, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with the disease. In general, breast cancer begins either in the ducts of the mammary gland, (ductal carcinomas) or the lobes of the breast (lobal carcinomas).
Currently, the definitive clinical diagnosis of malignancy relies on careful examination
|Contact: Joseph Caspermeyer|
Arizona State University