Navigation Links
Scattered light rapidly detects tumor response to chemotherapy

DURHAM, N.C. -- New technology developed by Duke University bioengineers can help clinicians more precisely detect whether specific cancer drugs are working, and should give basic researchers a powerful new tool to better understand the underlying mechanisms of cancer development.

By interpreting how beams of light scatter off of tumor cell samples, researchers can determine if cancer cells are responding to chemotherapeutic agents within a matter of hours.

Most chemotherapy drugs work by forcing cancer cells to commit cellular suicide, a process known as apoptosis. As cells undergo this process, bodies within the cell, such as the nucleus or mitochondria, go through structural changes. Using the new approach, researchers can analyze the light scattered by these bodies to detect the apoptotic changes in real time.

"The new technology allowed us to detect the tell-tale signs of apoptosis in human breast cancer cells in as little as 90 minutes," said Adam Wax, associate professor of biomedical engineering and senior member of the research team. "Currently, it can take between six and eight weeks to detect these changes clinically. It appears that this approach has the potential to be helpful in both clinical and laboratory settings."

The results of the Duke team's experiments were published in the February issue of Cancer Research.

The light-scattering technology is known as angle-resolved low coherence interferometry (a/LCI). In this process, light is shined into a cell sample and sensors capture and analyze the light as it is scattered back. The technique is able to provide representations of sub-cellular structure without disrupting the cells, and can be used to scan a large number of cells in a short time.

"Now, oncologists typically judge if a chemotherapeutic agent is working by looking for shrinkage in the tumor using imaging techniques, such as MRI or PET, or pathological response at time of surgery" said Julie Ostrander, Duke molecular cancer biologist, who along with Duke bioengineer Kevin Chalut were the paper's first authors.

"If we had a way to detect early on in the apoptotic process whether or not a drug was working, patients would not have to wait weeks to months to find out," Ostrander said. "The idea that you could shine a light at a tumor and use the light-scattering pattern to measure the success of drugs is a big step forward."

For their experiments, the Duke team studied a well-known cell culture line of human breast cancer. The cells were exposed to two common chemotherapy drugs, doxorubicin and paclitaxel. Using the a/LCI technology, the researchers looked for specific patterns, which indicate that structural changes have occurred.

The researchers found that when compared to control cells, the paclitaxel-treated cells began showing significant increases in a pattern called fractal dimension within 90 minutes. Doxorubicin-treated cells exhibited the same increases within three hours. Interestingly, the fractal dimensions began decreasing at six hours, only to increase again within 12 hours of treatment.

"The fact that the changes in structure appear over two distinct time scales suggests that multiple mechanisms are involved in these early events in apoptosis," Wax said. "Further analysis showed the early changes we observed were taking place in the mitochondria, while the changes in the structure of the nucleus were responsible for the later ones."

Ostrander said that this technology will help laboratory investigators like her determine how cancer cells become resistant to apoptosis, and therefore are resistant to drugs. Before this technique can be employed for human breast cancer, further studies will be carried out in animals.

Wax and colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are currently conducting a pilot clinical trial in humans using a similar technology for early detection of pre-cancerous cells in the epithelial lining of the esophagus, a condition known as Barrett's Esophagus.


Contact: Richard Merritt
Duke University

Related biology news :

1. Scattered nature of Wisconsins woodlands could complicate forests response to climate change
2. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
3. September Geology and GSA Today media highlights
4. Highlights from the September 2007 Journal of the American Dietetic Association
5. Genome study shines light on genetic link to height
6. Pig study sheds new light on the colonisation of Europe by early farmers
7. Researchers developing device to predict proper light exposure for human health
8. AGU journal highlights -- Sept. 6, 2007
9. IDEMA Reveals Program Highlights for DISKCON USA 2007
10. Men shed light on the mystery of human longevity, study finds
11. Zebrafish to shed light on human mitochondrial diseases
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/18/2015)... November 18, 2015 --> ... a new market report titled  Gesture Recognition Market - ... 2015 - 2021. According to the report, the global gesture recognition ... anticipated to reach US$29.1 bn by 2021, at a ... North America dominated the global gesture ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... LIVERMORE, Calif. , Nov. 17, 2015  Vigilant ... has joined its Board of Directors. ... Vigilant,s Board after recently retiring from the partnership at ... owning 107 companies with over $140 Billion in revenue.  ... performance improvement across all the TPG companies, from 1997 ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... , Nov. 12, 2015  A golden retriever ... Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) has provided a new lead ... Children,s Hospital, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard ... Brazil . Cell, pinpoints ... dogs "escape" the disease,s effects. The Boston Children,s lab ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... LAVAL, QC , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - ... the "Corporation") announced today that Mr. Pierre Laurin , ... a corporate presentation at the upcoming Piper Jaffray 27 th ... York Palace Hotel, on December 1-2, 2015. ... be available for one-on-one meetings throughout the day. The presentation ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- PDL BioPharma, Inc. (PDL) (NASDAQ: PDLI ) today announced ... chief executive officer, will present at the 27 th ... New York City . The presentation will be webcast ... 9:30 a.m. EST. and go to ... 15 minutes prior to the presentation to allow for any ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... According to two new studies, fewer men are ... that many doctors, scientists, and public health experts have been ... PSA tests being done, will there be more men dying ... Samadi, "Despite the efforts made in regards to early ... cancer cause of death in men, killing approximately 27,500 men ...
(Date:11/23/2015)... Cord Blood Corporation (NYSE: CO ) ("CCBC" or ... laboratory testing, hematopoietic stem cell processing, and stem cell ... for the second quarter and first half of fiscal ... --> --> Second Quarter of Fiscal ... of fiscal 2016 increased by 12.7% to RMB171.5 million ...
Breaking Biology Technology: