Cancer research boost thanks to new microscope

The Monaco Scientific Centre’s medical biology department has announced the acquisition of a state-of-the-art microscope that allows researchers to study cancer cells to better assist in finding cures.

This holotomographic microscope, which cost €24,000, gives scientists the opportunity to make daily tests on different cancer cells extracted directly from patient’s tumours. They can ascertain the cell’s migrations and proliferation capacity using this microscope, as well as methodically see how the cells interact or react with certain drugs. 

This type of study gives them a better idea of the behaviour of different cancers, paving the way for more specific treatments depending on which type a patient suffers from. Normally an extraordinarily tedious and time-consuming process, the microscope allows researchers to leave the cells in an incubator in controlled conditions mimicking the human body. They then film them as they proliferate.

This microscope also can test the density and thickness of the cells. This can help determine their proliferation according to size and the rates in which they multiply. 

Currently, the microscope is being used to study paediatric brain cancers. Clearly, time is of the essence when dealing with a child facing terminal illness, so the ability to get results in days rather than months is nothing short of miraculous. Researchers and doctors hope that by studying these cancers as they metastasise, they can figure out ways to halt and even reverse their progress, saving lives and giving hope where once there was little.

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