Vanderbilt University researchers have achieved the first “image fusion” of mass spectrometry and microscopy — a technical tour de force that could, among other things, dramatically improve the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Microscopy can yield high-resolution images of tissues, but “it really doesn’t give you molecular information,” said Richard Caprioli, Ph.D., senior author of the paper published last week in the journal Nature Methods.
Courtesy of Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Image of a section of the brain shows the fusion of microscopy (pink area) and mass spectrometry (pixelated colors at bottom) to produce a detailed “map” of the distribution of proteins, lipids and other molecules within sharply delineated brain structures (upper left).
Mass spectrometry provides a very precise accounting of the proteins, lipids and other molecules in a given tissue, but in a spatially coarse or pixelated manner.
Combining the best features of both imaging modalities allows scientists to see the molecular make-up of tissues in high resolution.
“That to me is just phenomenal,” said Caprioli, the Stanford Moore Professor of Biochemistry and director of the Mass Spectrometry Research Center.
Caprioli said the technique could redefine the surgical “margin,” the line between cancer cells and normal cells where the scalpel goes to remove the tumor.
Currently that line is determined by histology — the appearance of cells examined under the microscope. But many cancers recur after surgery. That could be because what appear to be normal cells, when analyzed for their protein content using mass spectrometry, are actually cancer cells in the making.
“The application of image fusion approaches to the analysis of tissue sections by microscopy and mass spectrometry is a significant innovation that should change the way that these techniques are used together,” said Douglas Sheeley, Sc.D., senior scientific officer in the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).
“It is an important step in the process of making mass spectrometry data accessible and truly useful for clinicians,” he said. The NIGMS, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), partially funded the research (grant numbers GM058008 and GM103391).
The image fusion project was led by Raf Van de Plas, Ph.D., a research assistant professor of Biochemistry who also has a faculty position at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Other co-authors were postdoctoral fellow Junhai Yang, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Spraggins, Ph.D., research assistant professor of Biochemistry.
Using a mathematical approach called regression analysis, the researchers mapped each pixel of mass spectrometry data onto the corresponding spot on the microscopy image to produce a new, “predicted” image.
It’s similar in concept to the line drawn between experimentally determined points in a standard curve, Caprioli said. There are no “real” points between those that were actually measured, yet the line is predicted by the previous experiments.
In the same way, “we’re predicting what the data should look like,” he said.
Last year Caprioli was honored by the American Society for Mass Spectrometry for developing Imaging Mass Spectrometry (IMS) using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI), a technique for visualizing proteins, lipids and other molecules in cells and tissues.
The introduction of this technology, essentially a “molecular microscope,” helps reveal the function of these molecules and how function is changed by diseases like cancer.
Craig Boerner | newswise
New technique to treating mitral valve diseases: First patient data
22.08.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern
New bioimaging technique is fast and economical
21.08.2017 | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.08.2017 | Life Sciences