Agilent Enables a Major Breakthrough in Cancer Diagnostics Research

Agilent FTIR spectroscopic imaging technology has helped enable a new process for precisely marking the boundaries of cancerous tissues.

Currently for clinical research, a tissue sample is chemically stained, then a histopathologist manually annotates the cancerous boundaries.  This process requires a highly skilled and experienced histopathologist and is subjective in nature.

Researchers in Germany have developed a new and novel process that uses Agilent FTIR imaging technology.  This process generates images based on the molecular make-up of the sample.  Computer models automatically and objectively determine the cancerous/non-cancerous boundary.

The FTIR imaging approach is stain-free and non-destructive.  This means that more sample is available for subsequent analysis of proteins (proteomics), genes (genomics) and metabolites (metabolomics), and can eventually help identify cancer biomarkers.

The researchers analyzed tissue samples from diffuse malignant mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer.  They found biomarkers that enabled them to distinguish between two subtypes – sarcomatoid and epitheloid – by examining more than 2,000 related proteins.  These biomarkers can potentially help determine the likely therapeutic response of the cancer to certain treatments in the future.

The researchers intend to apply their method to other types of cancer, to identify new biomarkers.  They hope their work will lead to future diagnostic tests that are simple, precise, predictive and non-invasive.

FTIR stands for “Fourier Transform Infrared.”  (Fourier was a French mathematician.)  FTIR spectroscopy provides a total molecular chemical signature of a sample, by analyzing it over a broad infrared spectral range.

Agilent’s FTIR instruments are used for a variety of applications including disease research, food authenticity, and even for detecting toxins in children’s toys.

For Research Use Only.  Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

Thanks to Dr. Mustafa Kansiz, Agilent Infrared Microscopy and Imaging Product Manager, for his help with today’s post!

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