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UCLA researchers' new technique improves accuracy, ease of cancer diagnosis
Date:11/21/2013

A team of researchers from UCLA and Harvard University have demonstrated a technique that, by measuring the physical properties of individual cells in body fluids, can diagnose cancer with a high degree of accuracy.

The technique, which uses a deformability cytometer to analyze individual cells, could reduce the need for more cumbersome diagnostic procedures and the associated costs, while improving accuracy over current methods. The initial clinical study, which analyzed pleural fluid samples from more than 100 patients, was published in the current issue of peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine.

Pleural fluid, a natural lubricant of the lungs as they expand and contract during breathing, is normally present in spaces surrounding the lungs. Medical conditions such as pneumonia, congestive heart failure and cancer can cause an abnormally large buildup of the fluid, which is called a pleural effusion.

When cytopathologists screen for cancer in pleural effusions, they perform a visual analysis of prepared cells extracted from the fluid. Preparing cells for this analysis can involve complicated and time-consuming dyeing or molecular labeling, and the tests often do not definitively determine the presence of tumor cells. As a result, additional costly tests often are required.

The method in the UCLAHarvard study, developed previously by the UCLA researchers, requires little sample preparation, relying instead on the imaging of cells as they flow through in microscale fluid conduits.

Imagine squeezing two balloons, one filled with water and one filled with honey. The balloons would feel different and would deform differently in your grip. The researchers used this principle on the cellular level by using a fluid grip to "squeeze" individual cells that are 10,000 times smaller than balloonsa technique called "deformability cytometry." The amount of a cell's compression can provide insights ab
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Contact: Matthew Chin
mchin@support.ucla.edu
310-206-0680
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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