Three researchers recently published an article in Nature Nanotechnology disclosing the first, highly promising measurements of a new chip. With this chip a new technology is developed that enables to follow living cells, including the movements of aggressive breast cancer cells. This complimentary form of microscopy makes it possible to image previously unexplored properties of cells. The research is done by University of Twente, Wageningen University and semiconductor manufacturer NXP within NanoNextNL. Read the new NanoNextNL highlight New window on cells.
Monitoring aggressive and spreading tumour cells
During an initial exploratory study the researchers managed to follow in real time how cancer cells in a growth medium attached to the chip. The mobility of the different type of tumour cells is a measure of how aggressive such a tumour is and how easily it spreads. This has consequences for drug research. You can easily add various medicines to a tumour cell and then use the chip to follow what the results are in real time.
Cheap and plentiful technology
The applied technology, CMOS (Complimentary Metal Oxide Semiconductor), is cheap and it can be used to process large quantities of data. You do not need any lenses or light sources, which means you do not need to purchase an expensive microscope. Furthermore, the technology is easy to scale up.