Recognizing the distinction between healthy and cancerous cells has traditionally been up to the eye of highly-trained cytologists and pathologists.
Northeastern University professor Max Diem and his team have developed an automatic method based on vibrational microspectroscopy that identifies the presence of metastatic cancer cells without the need for staining, and without human input.
The innovative method aids classical cytology (where visually inspection is used to detect changes in the morphology of cells obtained from bodily fluids, exfoliation or thin needle biopsy) and classical pathology (where stained tissue sections are examined visually).
“The method is entirely machine-based and computer-interpreted, and thus reduces the workload in diagnostic laboratories,” added Diem. “It allows us to increase the overall accuracy and decrease the time required to render medical diagnoses.”
“We have identified three major milestones for this particular research,” said Diem. “We want to develop a rapid sample preparation methodology, refine the imaging instrumentation, and construct reliable databases and algorithms for the detection.”