Crustaceans will help to diagnose cancer

Crustaceans will help to diagnose cancer

The unique ability of preserved mantis shrimp can perceive polarized light can be used when creating a device that allows early to detect malignant tumors.

Writes on the development of fundamentally new diagnostic equipment now has a team of engineers and marine biologists, headed by Viktor Grueby from the University of Illinois (USA). They hope to create a camera, the principles of which are the same as those used under the discernment of the surrounding world, the inhabitants of tropical and subtropical seas — mantis shrimp (Stomatopoda).

It is believed that these crustaceans are the owners of the most sophisticated eyes in the world. Their eyes are able to distinguish between 12 colors to perceive ultraviolet and infrared radiation, as well as different types of polarized light, which helps them in navigation and detection of prey. Moreover, if the ability to perceive the linear polarization at which light waves propagate in the same plane, are not unique among animals, “see” circular polarization, when light waves swirling in space in a spiral, I can only mantis shrimp.

Gruev and his colleagues hope that a highly sensitive camera capable of taking both of the polarized radiation, help professionals with a high degree of accuracy to distinguish between healthy tissue and malignant tumors. The fact is that because of the structural differences between cancer cells reflect polarized light differently than healthy. And these differences can be captured at a very early stage, when other symptoms or signs of the disease are still lacking.

Created by Grueby and his co-authors attached to the endoscope is a tiny camera is emitting polarized light, has already been successfully tested on mice with colon cancer. Traditional colonoscopy can detect the cancer only at that stage, when there is a tumor.

While the new technology allows you to see where the end of healthy tissue and malignant begins on stage, when the mucous surface remains flat. Thus, according to Gruev, each type of cancer cell has its own “polarization signature”, which also simplifies the diagnostics. In addition, this technology allows for accuracy to make sure all cancer cells were removed during the operation. Today, surgeons have no such possibility.

Gruev compared developed by him and his colleagues the technology with “flight to the moon in the field of Oncology”. Scientists believe that in the near future, the polarization camera will be included in the standard operating set of oncologists.