Microscopy technique could enable more informative biopsies

Monday, July 17, 2017 - 10:32 in Physics & Chemistry

MIT and Harvard Medical School researchers have devised a way to image biopsy samples with much higher resolution — an advance that could help doctors develop more accurate and inexpensive diagnostic tests. For more than 100 years, conventional light microscopes have been vital tools for pathology. However, fine-scale details of cells cannot be seen with these scopes. The new technique relies on an approach known as expansion microscopy, developed originally in Edward Boyden’s lab at MIT, in which the researchers expand a tissue sample to 100 times its original volume before imaging it. This expansion allows researchers to see features with a conventional light microscope that ordinarily could be seen only with an expensive, high-resolution electron microscope. It also reveals additional molecular information that the electron microscope cannot provide. “It’s a technique that could have very broad application,” says Boyden, an associate professor of biological engineering and brain and cognitive sciences at MIT....

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