Insta-Matic Cancer Test

New imaging technique accurately finds cancer cells – in five minutes

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a tissue-imaging technique that could put an end to long, anxious waits for cancer biopsy results.

Called nonlinear interferometric vibrational imaging (NIVI), the team recently demonstrated the microscopy technique on rat breast-cancer cells and tissues. The technique rendered color-coded images of tissue, outlining clear tumor boundaries, with more than 99 percent confidence.  And here’s the best part: it produced the images in less than five minutes.

“The [traditional cancer] diagnosis is made based on very subjective interpretation – how the cells are laid out, the structure, the morphology,” said Stephen A. Boppart, who holds appointments in electrical and computer engineering, bioengineering and medicine at UI. “We want to make the process of medical diagnostics more quantitative and more rapid.”

NIVI assesses and produces images based on molecular composition instead of focusing on cell and tissue structure. By identifying cells with abnormally high protein concentrations (a marker for cancerous cells), the researchers could accurately differentiate between tumors and healthy tissue, which have higher concentrations of lipids. 

The UI researchers are now working to improve and expand their technique’s application.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 25, 2010
Last Updated:
August 18, 2011