'CSI' technology holds potential in everyday medicineAugust 21, 2012
The report on technology already incorporated into instruments that miniaturize room-size lab instrumentation into devices the size of a shoebox was part of the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. The meeting, which features about 8,600 reports with an anticipated attendance of 14,000 scientists and others continues here through Thursday.
"With both of the instruments we developed, no sample preparation is needed, which reduces analysis time from as much as several hours per sample to just a few seconds," said Graham Cooks, Ph.D., who led the research team. "Rapid results are critical when a surgeon is operating on a brain tumor or when chemotherapy patients are being treated with powerful drugs that must be administered at precise levels."
The instrument called a "desorption electrospray ionization" mass spectrometer, or DESI, was featured on both CSI and CSI: Miami as a tool to analyze fingerprints. However, this portable instrument can do so much more. It's about the size of a shoebox and does not change or destroy the sample that is analyzed. Cooks' students have even carried it into a grocery store and held it close to the outer surfaces of fruit and vegetables to detect pesticides and microorganisms. The team also used it to identify biomarkers for prostate cancer and to detect melamine, a potentially toxic substance that showed up in infant formulas in China in 2008 and in pet food in the U.S. in 2007. In addition, DESI can detect explosives on luggage.
Now, Cooks' team at Purdue University is teaming up with collaborators led by Nathalie Y. R. Agar, Ph.D., at Harvard University to test the instrument in the operating room during brain cancer surgery, comparing it with the gold standard - traditional analysis of tissue samples by pathologists.
"These procedures are among the longest of all surgical operations, and this new technology offers the promise of reducing the time patients are under anesthesia," Cooks explained. "DESI can analyze tissue samples and help determine the type of brain cancer, the stage and the concentration of tumor cells. It also can help surgeons identify the margins of the tumor to assure that they remove as much of the tumor as possible. These are early days, but the analysis looks promising."
The other instrument under development in Cooks' lab is a "PaperSpray ionization" mass spectrometer. The researchers are using this new device to monitor the levels of chemotherapy drugs in patients' blood in real time. "Many cancer drugs have relatively narrow therapeutic ranges, so they need to be in the blood at certain levels to work properly," he noted. "But at present, that information is not obtained in real time, so a patient could end up with too little or too much of the drug in his or her body."
For a video of PaperSpray, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHcMbFyHxTc
Both the DESI and PaperSpray mass spectrometers work in a similar way. To weigh chemicals, mass spectrometers need to ionize, or give a positive or negative charge to a substance. Mass spectrometers usually do this inside the instrument under a vacuum without air. But DESI and PaperSpray can do this so-called ionization process out in the open. This allows scientists much more flexibility. DESI and PaperSpray also can do analyses without separating out all of the chemicals in a sample first (unlike conventional instruments), which provides quick results. They are also very easy to operate. "You just point and shoot," said Cooks.
Currently, Cooks' team is testing to see whether DESI can provide different information compared to what pathologists can provide by looking at human tissues under a microscope. In addition, the researchers are testing PaperSpray on patients' blood samples, though Cooks points out that the device also could measure the levels of drugs of abuse or pharmaceuticals in urine or other body fluids.
American Chemical Society
Related Chemotherapy Current Events and Chemotherapy News Articles
Study finds non-genetic cancer mechanism
Cancer can be caused solely by protein imbalances within cells, a study of ovarian cancer has found.
Gene therapy may improve survival of patients with recurrent ovarian cancer
Use of gene therapy to deliver a protein that suppresses the development of female reproductive organs may improve the survival of patients with ovarian cancer that has recurred after chemotherapy, which happens 70 percent of the time and is invariably fatal.
New treatment options for a fatal leukemia
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) frequently develops between the age of two and three. This leukemia has various forms, which differ through certain changes in the genetic material of the leukemia cells.
In lab tests, new therapy slows spread of deadly brain tumor cells
The rapid spread of a common and deadly brain tumor has been slowed down significantly in a mouse model by cutting off the way some cancer cells communicate, according to a team of researchers that includes UF Health faculty.
Omega-3 fatty acids may help improve treatment and quality of life in cancer patients
Adding omega-3 fatty acids to anti-tumor medications may improve treatment response and quality of life for cancer patients according to a new study by researchers at the University Hospitals of Leicester in the United Kingdom.
Chemotherapy and quality of life at the end of life
Chemotherapy for patients with end-stage cancer was associated with worse quality of life near death for patients with a good ability to still perform many life functions, according to an article published online by JAMA Oncology.
Mayo researchers decode molecular action of combination therapy for deadly thyroid cancer
In their bid to find the best combination of therapies to treat anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC), researchers on Mayo Clinic's Florida campus demonstrated that all histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors are not created equal.
Stem cell transplantation for children with rare form of leukemia improves outcomes
Researchers in the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Blood & Marrow Transplantation at Children's Hospital Los Angeles have shown greatly improved outcomes in using stem cell transplantation to treat patients with a serious but very rare form of chronic blood cancer called juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML).
MSU scientists set sights on glaucoma medication to treat TB
A new discovery by Michigan State University scientists suggests that a common medication used to treat glaucoma could also be used to treat tuberculosis, even the drug-resistant kind.
New research from Lawson uncovers important molecule in ovarian cancer
Scientists at Lawson Health Research Institute have uncovered an important new target for ovarian cancer therapy.
More Chemotherapy Current Events and Chemotherapy News Articles