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Samsung’s annual Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition focuses on using science and technology concepts to improve local communities. Winning classrooms will share in almost $2 million in technology from the company and other partners.
A new method can distinguish tumors from normal brain tissue in living mice. With further refinement, the approach could help doctors remove brain tumors with great precision.
Recognizing the difference between tumors and normal brain tissue during surgery is a major challenge. Removing healthy tissue can cause neurologic problems, but leaving tumor tissue behind can allow the cancer to spread again. This is a particular problem with glioblastoma multiforme, the most common form of malignant brain cancer in adults. Glioblastoma tumors grow quickly and are difficult to treat. The tumors infiltrate normal brain tissue and can’t be easily singled out.
Experimental methods to tell the difference between tumors and normal tissue during surgery have had limited success. Over the past 15 years, a team led by Dr. Sunney Xie at Harvard University has been developing a technique called stimulated Raman scattering (SRS) microscopy. The method takes advantage of the fact that chemical bonds in molecules have their own sets of vibration frequencies, and produce unique patterns of scattered light called Raman spectra. These spectra can be used as fingerprints to identify and differentiate different molecules in a complex environment. SRS microscopy involves shining noninvasive lasers to excite particular Raman frequencies in tissues. The weak light signals emitted by the tissues vary depending on the tissues’ molecular composition, such as lipids, proteins, and DNA.
In collaboration with Dr. Daniel Orringer and colleagues at the University of Michigan Medical School, Xie’s team applied SRS microscopy to the problem of distinguishing protein-rich glioblastomas from more lipid-rich surrounding tissue. Their work was funded by an NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award and by NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI). The results appeared on September 4, 2013, in Science Translational Medicine.
By combining SRS images made from light at 2 different frequencies, the scientists were able to construct images that identified tissues with different lipid and protein content. To test the approach on tumors, they implanted human glioblastoma cells into mice and allowed them to grow into tumors. They then placed samples on slides and used SRS microscopy to make 2-color images of the samples. For comparison, they froze the samples and stained them with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E), the current approach used to diagnose brain tumors.
The scientists found that SRS microscopy worked as well as H&E in distinguishing tumor-infiltrated brain tissue from surrounding healthy tissue. They then adapted the technique for use in live mice. Craniectomies exposed the tumor and adjacent brain tissue for SRS imaging. While standard microscopy found no obvious evidence of the tumor, SRS microscopy identified regions with extensive tumor infiltration.
“For more than 100 years, hematoxylin and eosin stain has been the gold standard for this type of imaging,” Xie says. “But with this [SRS] technology, we don't need to freeze the tissue, we don't need to stain tissue, and we don't need to biopsy—this acts like an optical biopsy and allows us to identify the tumor margins at a cellular level.”
A new drug discovery website that aims to be a 'Facebook for researchers' has launched with a mission to accelerate cancer drug research.
Granatum.org wants to bring together biomedical researchers from pharma, universities and research institutes and make it easier for them to interact and cooperate.
The site provides access to the biomedical knowledge and data resources needed to prepare complex experiments to identify novel agents for cancer prevention and to design experimental studies.
It hopes that by helping researchers to build and share hypotheses, search databases, and design and execute in-silico experiments, potential chemoprevention drugs can be better screened ahead of any in-vitro and in-vivo testing. This, in turn, should speed up oncology research and even reduce costs.
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. — Orbital Sciences Corp. on Sept. 18 blasted its Cygnus cargo capsule toward the international space station (ISS) aboard the Antares rocket, marking the start of a demonstration delivery mission that, if successful, will clear the way for the Dulles, Va., company to start collecting on a $1.9 billion NASA contract.
In its maiden flight to space, Cygnus separated cleanly from the second stage of Antares — which has now flown twice, counting a demo launch in April — at about 11:08 a.m. EDT, 10 minutes after liftoff from Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a state-operated facility at NASA's Wallops Island Flight Facility here.
Scheduled to arrive at ISS six days after launch, Cygnus will to spend 31 days aloft at the orbital outpost. When its mission is over, the expendable craft will detach from the station, reenter the atmosphere and burn up over the Pacific Ocean.
“Let's face it; by and large math is not easy, but that's what makes it so rewarding when you conquer a problem, and reach new heights of understanding.” Danica McKellar As we usher in the start of a new school year, it’s time to hit the ground running in your classes! Math can be pretty tough, but since it is the language in which scientists interpret the Universe, there’s really no getting around learning it. Check out these gifs that will help you visualize some tricky aspects of math, so you can dominate your exams this year. Ellipse:
September 18, 2013 — A thunderous roar rolled over the Virginia seaboard on Wednesday (Sept. 18) as the first of a new type of commercial cargo spacecraft set off on its maiden flight to the International Space Station (ISS). The unmanned space freighter is now on a month-long mission to demonstrate to NASA it can be used to deliver supplies to the orbiting outpost.
Orbital Sciences Corp. launched its first Cygnus resupply spaceship on the company's second Antares rocket to fly. The 10:58 a.m. EDT (1458 GMT) liftoff was the first time a U.S. space station-bound mission began from somewhere other than Florida's space coast.
Science not settled, still in a state of flux - IPCC AR5 in disarray. It is looking like my single word quote in Rolling Stone "stillborn", will be accurate. The title is my twist on what Dr. Judith Curry said in an email to David Rose in ...
Science's Humanities Gap New York Times (blog) In his recent sermon to humanists, “Science Is Not Your Enemy,” the psychologist Steven Pinker makes an impressive plea for humanists to pay more attention to science and urges them to an...
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