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Multiphoton Microscopy Identifies Ovarian Cancer Cells at a Molecular Level

Multiphoton Microscopy Identifies Ovarian Cancer Cells at a Molecular LevelMultiphoton microscopy delivers laser light to tissue. The high-intensity light is emitted in short pulses to keep the average power small and avoid tissue damage. The different tissue components interact with the laser light and emit signals that are detected by the microscope to create an image.

Near-infrared multiphoton microscopy uses fluorescence imaging with high spatial and temporal resolution, diagnostics, photochemistry, and nanoprocessing within living cells and tissues. When combined with fluorescence in situ hybridization, multiflourophor multiphoton excitation can be used for multi-gene detection. The near-infrared penetration depth allows for noninvasive optical biopsies.

After the images are acquired, automated image processing algorithms reveal unique textural features. The textural features are analyzed with statistical models to classify tissue as healthy or diseased.

Understanding Cancer Cells with Multiphoton Microscopy

Doctors must determine the extent and locations of cancerous spread, commonly known as staging, in order to provide effective cancer treatment. When ovarian cancer spreads, it often appears in the peritoneum first. The peritoneum is a membrane that lines the abdominal cavity.

Using multiphone microscopy, scientists are able to correctly classify samples as metastatic with extremely high accuracy. And the method also properly identifies other samples as healthy. Researchers hope to apply multiphoton microscopy to areas of the body where cancer is found or suspected.

One of the main benefits of multiphoton microscopy is that image acquisition and analysis are based on components of the tissue itself and not on contrast dyes that have been added. This allows for analysis in a completely noninvasive and nondestructive manner.

As a result, researchers have found that healthy and diseased tissue show distinct patterns in terms of contrast and correlation. Healthy tissues show a greater variation in these features, and metastatic tissues show more uniform intensity patterns and smaller fibers. 

Scientists finally have a clearer picture of how cancer develops and progresses. It’s long been difficult to study the activity in a living person because the relevant interactions happen below the surface.

Visit our Optics in Life Sciences Applications educational section to learn about the importance of optics to life sciences applications.

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