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When cells hit the wall: UCLA engineers put the squeeze on cells to diagnose disease
Date:5/1/2012

lity in that regard."

With Rao and Dr. Otto Yang, a professor in the infectious diseases division at the Geffen School of Medicine and the department of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics, the researchers found that in addition to identifying cancer, the technique was also sensitive to states of acute and chronic inflammation in which populations of white blood cells are primed to respond to infection. Measuring the state of the immune system can aid in diagnosing immune disorders such as AIDS or in evaluating patients' rejection of transplants early on, allowing doctors to modify anti-rejection therapies.

"The applicability to infectious diseases and organ transplantation is still theoretical," said Yang, who is also a researcher with the UCLA AIDS Institute. "Immune cells change physical characteristics as they are activated, and so, in theory, this technology could be harnessed to detect immune responses against infections or transplanted organs."

"Working with other folks across campus has been amazing," Di Carlo said. "Anytime we talked with Amander, Otto or Jian Yu, we learned something new which helped us refine our system and the problems we chose to address. We all live in slightly different worlds, and sometimes communication is difficult, but bioengineering is great in that we can communicate in different languages and bridge the engineering school to medicine and biology much more effectively."

The results were reported online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA and will be published in a forthcoming print issue of the journal. More information can be found at Di Carlo's laboratory website.


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Contact: Wileen Wong Kromhout
wwkromhout@support.ucla.edu
310-206-0540
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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