'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 illuminates role of cancer drug decitabine in repairing damaged cells
A Purdue University study sheds light on how cell damage is reversed by the cancer drug decitabine and identifies a potential biomarker that could indicate a patient's stage of cancer and response to treatment.
Penn study identifies molecular link between DNA damage and premature aging
Like a beloved pair of jeans, human DNA accumulates damage over time, and older people's bodies can't repair it as well. Many scientists believe a build up of damage can cause cells to enter an irreversible dormant state known as senescence.
The past, present and future of pancreatic cancer research and treatment
The oncologists Manuel Hidalgo, Director of the Clinical Research Programme of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), and Ignacio Garrido-Laguna, member of the Experimental Therapeutics Program at Huntsman Cancer Institute of the University of Utah (USA), have recently published a review of state-of-the-art clinical treatments for pancreatic cancer -- including the most current therapies and innovative research -- in the prestigious scientific journal Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology.
New therapeutic target for a type of colorectal cancer with poor prognosis has been identified
Researchers at the Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions MĂ®diques (IMIM) have identified a new way of treating colorectal cancer.
New breast cancer screening analysis confirms biennial interval optimal for average risk women
Results from a second comprehensive analysis of mammography screening, this time using data from digital mammography, confirms findings from a 2009 analysis of film mammography: biennial (every two years) screening offers a favorable balance of benefits to harm for women ages 50 to 74 who have an average risk of developing breast cancer.
Cancer and chemobrain: Cancer diagnosis affects cognitive function
Breast cancer patients often display mild cognitive defects even before the initiation of chemotherapy. A new study by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich researchers now attributes the syndrome to post-traumatic stress induced by diagnosis of the disease.
New genetic mutation could signal start of malaria drug resistance in Africa
Early indicators of the malaria parasite in Africa developing resistance to the most effective drug available have been confirmed, according to new research published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
New combo of immunotherapy drugs is safe, shrinks tumors in metastatic melanoma patients
Once again, researchers at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center have extended the reach of the immune system in the fight against metastatic melanoma, this time by combining the checkpoint inhibitor tremelimumab with an anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody drug.
Penn Medicine: Immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab shows promise for mesothelioma patients
The PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab, a cancer immunotherapy drug, shrank or halted growth of tumors in 76 percent of patients with pleural mesothelioma, a rare and deadly form of cancer that arises in the outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall, according to a new study from researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Seeking new targets for ovarian cancer treatment
Identifying molecular changes that occur in tissue after chemotherapy could be crucial in advancing treatments for ovarian cancer, according to research from Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation (MWRIF) and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), partner with UPMC CancerCenter, presented today at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2015.
More Chemotherapy Current Events and Chemotherapy News Articles