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 Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>