Scientists Create New Technique For Imaging Living Cells Beneath Skin

Stanford scientists have created a new technique for imaging living cells and tissues beneath the skin.

By Catherine Griffin

Scientists at Stanford University have developed a new technique for imaging cells and tissues under the skin that could be huge when it comes to finding and treating diseases. The method could help researchers learn a bit more about how cells, or even molecules, function in living creatures.

The new technique is called MOZART, which is short for Molecular imagine and characterization of tissue noninvasively At cellular ResoluTion. In theory, this technique could one day allow researchers to detect tumors in the skin, colon or esophagus, or even see abnormal blood vessels that appear in the early stages of macular degeneration.
“We’ve been trying to look into the living body and see information at the level of the single cell,” said Adam de la Zerda, a Stanford assistant professor and senior author of the new paper. “Until now there has been no way to do that.”

 There’s already a technique, called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), that allows researchers to peek into the living tissue several millimeters under the skin. However, this method isn’t sensitive or specific enough to see individual cells or the molecules that the cells are producing.
In this case, the researchers needed to create better “tags” to latch onto molecules or structures of interest to illuminate those structures. The researchers knew that gold nanorods had some of the properties that they were looking for; but all of the commercially available nanorods didn’t produce nearly enough signal to be detected in a tissue.…….
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Source: HNGN