Nav: Home

VIB team develops groundbreaking membrane analysis tool

September 07, 2016

To understand the complexity of cell membranes, scientists count on a panoply of technological tools that allow them to analyze microscopic images. A multidisciplinary team from VIB-KU Leuven has just added an important one to the list: 'QuASIMoDOH' is the first technique to study changes in these membranes that may be, for example, caused by cancer or neurodegenerative diseases. The method and its impact on the research community will be published in the upcoming issue of the leading scientific journal PLOS Computational Biology.

Quantitative Analysis of the Spatial distributions in Images using Mosaic segmentation and Dual parameter Optimization in Histograms: given this extensive name, QuASIMoDOH was conceived of in the Bio Imaging Core Leuven, a VIB facility dedicated to state-of-the-art microscopy services and tools for analyzing high-resolution images. The development was led by Prof. Sebastian Munck, VIB Expert Technologist, in close collaboration with VIB-KU Leuven researchers.

Capturing cell diversity

A specific need was at the root of QuASIMoDOH's development. Scientists at the Bio Imaging Core were struggling to quantify the distribution of receptors on a cell's membrane. Although there are already quite a few statistical tools that can be used to examine the makeup of a membrane, a lot of them only focus on clusters of proteins and lipids. In order to capture the full complexity of biological samples, Prof. Munck and his team decided to establish a new method themselves.

Prof. Munck (VIB-KU Leuven): "Our approach describes the spatial patterns of membrane proteins and lipids in terms of deviation from a random distribution. The main difference is that QuASIMoDOH can map out polar distributions, meaning that unequal distributions such as gradients can be analyzed. The fact that our method is compatible with diverse types of cellular structuring characteristics, including polarity, has a huge impact. Cancer progression, for example, is characterized by a number of changes occurring within the cell membrane including changes in polarity. QuASIMoDOH allows us to study and understand these alterations."

Joining forces against diseases

It isn't just cancer that causes these changes -- many other diseases as well as the aging process can affect the composition of membranes. The Bio Imaging Core is planning to use the QuASIMoDOH technology to support researchers - inside and outside VIB-KU Leuven - with screenings in fields ranging from neurobiology to cancer research. That is why the development team devoted special attention to the tool's accessibility: it is compatible with different microscopic technologies and has a pretty straightforward readout.

Dr. Geert Van Minnebruggen (Head Core Facilities at VIB): "Innovative tools like these are the result of pooling together technological and scientific expertise. In VIB's core facilities, including the Bio Imaging Core, expert technologists like Sebastian Munck have been joining forces with research group leaders for some time now. It is clear that the sharing of technological equipment and knowhow is becoming a prerequisite for scientific breakthroughs."
-end-


VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)

Related Cancer Articles:

Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
Cancer genomics continued: Triple negative breast cancer and cancer immunotherapy
Continuing PLOS Medicine's special issue on cancer genomics, Christos Hatzis of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., USA and colleagues describe a new subtype of triple negative breast cancer that may be more amenable to treatment than other cases of this difficult-to-treat disease.
Metabolite that promotes cancer cell transformation and colorectal cancer spread identified
Osaka University researchers revealed that the metabolite D-2-hydroxyglurate (D-2HG) promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition of colorectal cancer cells, leading them to develop features of lower adherence to neighboring cells, increased invasiveness, and greater likelihood of metastatic spread.
UH Cancer Center researcher finds new driver of an aggressive form of brain cancer
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers have identified an essential driver of tumor cell invasion in glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer that can occur at any age.
UH Cancer Center researchers develop algorithm to find precise cancer treatments
University of Hawai'i Cancer Center researchers developed a computational algorithm to analyze 'Big Data' obtained from tumor samples to better understand and treat cancer.
New analytical technology to quantify anti-cancer drugs inside cancer cells
University of Oklahoma researchers will apply a new analytical technology that could ultimately provide a powerful tool for improved treatment of cancer patients in Oklahoma and beyond.
Radiotherapy for lung cancer patients is linked to increased risk of non-cancer deaths
Researchers have found that treating patients who have early stage non-small cell lung cancer with a type of radiotherapy called stereotactic body radiation therapy is associated with a small but increased risk of death from causes other than cancer.
Cancer expert says public health and prevention measures are key to defeating cancer
Is investment in research to develop new treatments the best approach to controlling cancer?
UI Cancer Center, Governors State to address cancer disparities in south suburbs
The University of Illinois Cancer Center and Governors State University have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago's south suburbs.
Leading cancer research organizations to host international cancer immunotherapy conference
The Cancer Research Institute, the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy, the European Academy of Tumor Immunology, and the American Association for Cancer Research will join forces to sponsor the first International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference at the Sheraton New York Times Square Hotel in New York, Sept.

Related Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...