Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Homing in on cancer with a comprehensive measurement method

03.03.2014

Whether a tumour develops from individual cancer cells and whether metastases are formed depends on many factors in the affected tissue. A greater understanding of a tumour’s complex switch and control circuits could help to combat cancer in a more targeted fashion. Researchers at the University of Zurich have come up with an imaging method that is able to simultaneously visualize a previously unachieved number of factors involved in cancer.

Cancer is the second most common cause of death in Switzerland. There are many reasons why in the era of cutting-edge medicine it is still difficult to cure this disease.

A tumour may, for instance, consist of different tumour cell subpopulations, each of which has its own profile and responds differ-ently to therapy – or not. Furthermore, the cancer cells and the healthy cells in the body interact and communicate with one another.

How a tumour then actually develops and whether metastases form depends on which signals a tumour cell receives from its environment. With the development of a new method the team around Prof. Bernd Bodenmiller from the Institute of Molecular Life Sciences at the University of Zurich – in cooperation with ETH Zurich and University Hospital Zurich – has suc-ceeded in comprehensively profiling and visualizing tumour cells from patient samples. This promising method has now been published in “Nature Methods”.

New imaging method – major opportunity

Setting out to determine a tumour’s cell profile, its neighbourhood relationships and the circuit struc-ture within and in between cells is a highly complex endeavour. This is because the biomarkers, i.e. the specific molecules of the various cell types and their circuits, have to be measured in their spatial relationships.

“With our method it is possible to obtain a comprehensive picture using a novel imaging technique that currently can simultaneously record 32, and in the near future more than one hundred biomarkers”, explains Bernd Bodenmiller, the study coordinator. Furthermore, thanks to state-of-the-art imaging the information about the cells’ neighbourhood relationships is kept and their direct impact on the cellular switch and control circuits can be visualised.

The new technique is based on methods which are already routinely used in hospitals – with two im-portant innovations. First, the biomarkers are visualised using pure metal isotopes instead of dyes. To do so, biomarkers on very thin tissue sections are labelled with antibodies. The antibodies are cou-pled to the pure metal isotopes.

Then tiny pieces of tissue are removed with a laser system devel-oped by Prof. Detlef Günther from the ETH Zurich, and the metal isotopes of the pieces are measured with a mass spectrometer which can determine the mass and quantity of the individual metal isotopes. “This trick gets round the problem of the limited number of colours in the analysis of biological sam-ples”, comments Bodenmiller.

Secondly, information about the cells, and their control circuits, is no longer qualitative. With the new measurement method it is possible to precisely determine which cells experience what effect and to which extent. In this way the weak points of the control system can be pinpointed and this helps in the development of new therapeutic approaches. This is the reason, so Bodenmiller, why it is becoming increasingly important to understand these interactions for diagnosis and therapy.

Customised treatment is the goal

The initial measurement results of the new biomarker technique for breast cancer have revealed the heterogeneity of tumours. As a consequence of major growth, some tumours suffer from oxygen defi-ciency on the inside, other misuse the body’s own immune cells to drive their growth. Cell-cell interac-tion and cell location in the centre or on the edges of the tumour also have a decisive influence. One thing is clear: no tumour is like any other and Bodenmiller believes that treatment should reflect this. In a next step his research team wishes to use the new measurement method to explore the roles played by control circuits and cell communication in metastasis formation.

Literature:
Charlotte Giesen, H. A. O. Wang, Denis Schapiro, Nevena Zivanovic, Andrea Jacobs, Bodo Hatten-dorf, Peter J Schüffler, Daniel Grolimund, Joachim M Buhmann, Simone Brandt, Zsuzsanna Varga, Peter J. Wild, Detlef Günther & Bernd Bodenmiller. Highly multiplexed imaging of tumor tissues with subcellular resolution by mass cytometry. Nature Methods, March 2014. DOI:10.1038/nmeth.2869

Contacts:
Prof. Bernd Bodenmiller
Institute of Molecular Biology
University of Zurich
Tel: +41 (0)44 635 31 28
Email: bernd.bodenmiller@imls.uzh.ch

Bettina Jakob
Media Relations
University of Zurich
Tel. +41 44 634 44 39
Email: bettina. jakob@kommunikation.uzh.ch

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.mediadesk.uzh.ch/index.html

Bettina Jakob | Universität Zürich

Further reports about: ETH Furthermore Molecular biomarkers isotopes measurement relationships technique tumour tumours

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New mechanisms uncovered explaining frost tolerance in plants
26.09.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Chains of nanogold – forged with atomic precision
23.09.2016 | Suomen Akatemia (Academy of Finland)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: OLED microdisplays in data glasses for improved human-machine interaction

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP has been developing various applications for OLED microdisplays based on organic semiconductors. By integrating the capabilities of an image sensor directly into the microdisplay, eye movements can be recorded by the smart glasses and utilized for guidance and control functions, as one example. The new design will be debuted at Augmented World Expo Europe (AWE) in Berlin at Booth B25, October 18th – 19th.

“Augmented-reality” and “wearables” have become terms we encounter almost daily. Both can make daily life a little simpler and provide valuable assistance for...

Im Focus: Artificial Intelligence Helps in the Discovery of New Materials

With the help of artificial intelligence, chemists from the University of Basel in Switzerland have computed the characteristics of about two million crystals made up of four chemical elements. The researchers were able to identify 90 previously unknown thermodynamically stable crystals that can be regarded as new materials. They report on their findings in the scientific journal Physical Review Letters.

Elpasolite is a glassy, transparent, shiny and soft mineral with a cubic crystal structure. First discovered in El Paso County (Colorado, USA), it can also be...

Im Focus: Complex hardmetal tools out of the 3D printer

For the first time, Fraunhofer IKTS shows additively manufactured hardmetal tools at WorldPM 2016 in Hamburg. Mechanical, chemical as well as a high heat resistance and extreme hardness are required from tools that are used in mechanical and automotive engineering or in plastics and building materials industry. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden managed the production of complex hardmetal tools via 3D printing in a quality that are in no way inferior to conventionally produced high-performance tools.

Fraunhofer IKTS counts decades of proven expertise in the development of hardmetals. To date, reliable cutting, drilling, pressing and stamping tools made of...

Im Focus: Launch of New Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing

At AKL’16, the International Laser Technology Congress held in May this year, interest in the topic of process control was greater than expected. Appropriately, the event was also used to launch the Industry Working Group for Process Control in Laser Material Processing. The group provides a forum for representatives from industry and research to initiate pre-competitive projects and discuss issues such as standards, potential cost savings and feasibility.

In the age of industry 4.0, laser technology is firmly established within manufacturing. A wide variety of laser techniques – from USP ablation and additive...

Im Focus: New laser joining technologies at ‘K 2016’ trade fair

Every three years, the plastics industry gathers at K, the international trade fair for plastics and rubber in Düsseldorf. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will also be attending again and presenting many innovative technologies, such as for joining plastics and metals using ultrashort pulse lasers. From October 19 to 26, you can find the Fraunhofer ILT at the joint Fraunhofer booth SC01 in Hall 7.

K is the world’s largest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry. As in previous years, the organizers are expecting 3,000 exhibitors and more than...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Experts from industry and academia discuss the future mobile telecommunications standard 5G

23.09.2016 | Event News

ICPE in Graz for the seventh time

20.09.2016 | Event News

Using mathematical models to understand our brain

16.09.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stronger turbine blades with molybdenum silicides

26.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

Scientists Find Twisting 3-D Raceway for Electrons in Nanoscale Crystal Slices

26.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

Lowering the Heat Makes New Materials Possible While Saving Energy

26.09.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>