Wednesday June 19, 2019

New Robotic Tool to Detect, Kill Cancer Cells

In the later-stage cells, the stiffening response is not as strong as they are in the early stage, though both are seemingly similar, the researchers said

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Canadian scientists have developed a kind of magnetic tweezer that can precisely insert a minuscule bead robot into a live human cancer cell, pointing to a new option for diagnosing and killing cancer.

The study, published in the journal Science Robotics, described the design in which a magnetic iron bead about 100 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair can be coaxed into any desired position within the cell, the Xinhua reported.

The bead, about 700 nanometres in diameter, is placed on the microscope coverslip surrounded by six magnetic coils in different planes, and the cancer cell can swallow the bead into its membrane.

Then, the researchers from University of Toronto controlled the bead’s position under a microscope, using a computer-controlled algorithm to vary the electrical current through coils and shaping the magnetic field in three dimensions.

The researchers used their robotic system to study early-stage and later-stage bladder cancer cells. Previously, they had to extract the cell nuclei to examine it.

The team measured cell nuclei in intact cells instead of breaking apart the cell membrane, showing that the nucleus is not equally stiff in all directions.

The reason for increased bleeding is not known. It may be because rivaroxaban is more 'potent', the paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology said. (IANS)
Representational image. Pixabay

“It’s a bit like a football in shape. Mechanically, it’s stiffer along one axis than the other,” said Professor Sun Yu.

“We wouldn’t have known that without this new technique.”

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They were able to measure how much stiffer the nucleus got when prodded repeatedly, and thus find out which cell protein or proteins might play a role in controlling this response, which could work as a new method of detecting cancer in early stage.

In the later-stage cells, the stiffening response is not as strong as they are in the early stage, though both are seemingly similar, the researchers said.

Also, the team visualised using the tiny robots to either starve a tumour by blocking its blood vessels, or destroy it directly through mechanical ablation, although those applications are still a long way from clinical uses. (IANS)

Next Story

Engineers Develop Novel Wearable Device That Grabs Cancer Cells From Blood

It can also be used to grow the captured cancer cells, producing larger samples for further analysis

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A team of US engineers have developed a prototype wearable device that can continuously collect live cancer cells directly from a patient’s blood in an advance that could help patients avoid biopsy as well as get treatment for cancer more effectively.

Most cancer cells cannot survive in the bloodstream, but those that do are more likely to start a new tumour.

Typically, it is these satellite tumours, called metastases, which are deadly, rather than the original tumour. They can release more than 1,000 cancer cells into the bloodstream in a single minute.

This means cancer cells captured from blood could provide better information for planning treatments than those from a conventional biopsy, the researchers explained.

“Nobody wants to have a biopsy. If we could get enough cancer cells from the blood, we could use them to learn about the tumour biology and direct care for the patients. That’s the excitement of why we’re doing this,” said Daniel F. Hayes, Professor at the University of Michigan.

Cancer patient
Cancer patient.

The wearable device contains a cell-grabbing chip, which in animal tests trapped 3.5 times as many cancer cells per millilitre of blood as it did running samples collected by a blood draw, according to the paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

The chip uses nanomaterial graphene oxide to create dense forests of antibody-tipped molecular chains, enabling it to trap more than 80 per cent of the cancer cells in the blood that flows across it.

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It can also be used to grow the captured cancer cells, producing larger samples for further analysis.

The team estimates the device could begin human trials in three to five years. It would be used to help optimise treatments for human cancers by enabling doctors to see if the cancer cells are making the molecules that serve as targets for many newer cancer drugs. (IANS)