On May 6, 2005, in Diagnostics
7 tesla MRI at Vanderbilt; Faster Lab-on-a-Chip; Holodiagnosis; Laser Cancer Detector; Physiome Project; X-Ray Laser
7 tesla MRI at Vanderbilt


Vanderbilt University is acquiring a 7-tesla MRI. The magnet costs about US$7 million and the building to house it US$19.7million. It will be used on laboratory animals, primarily in brain research aimed at analyzing how the brain reacts with drugs at the molecular level and to study Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and other diesases.

Faster Lab-on-a-Chip


Japanese researchers have developed basic technology for a minute-sample-amount, high-speed protein analysis system for the rapid diagnosis of cancer and other diseases using newly developed nanobiochips. Proteome analysis of a sample takes about an hour, versus about 20 hours for conventional two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, and the size of the sample need be only a twentieth that of the conventional method.



“Smart Holograms” incorporated into contact lenses could monitor glucose levels. Made into thin badges, they could detect alcohol levels in breath. Dipsticks containing the devices could tell instantly if milk has spoiled or become contaminated. They can detect pH to four decimal places and chemical concentrations of hormones and other biologically important substances, and will detect substances as readily in stool samples as in milk.

Each hologram is an assembly of silver particles on a shape-memory polymer that can be designed to change shape in different chemical environments. As the polymer changes shape, the silver particles form new patterns. The hologram can thus be designed to display a message, a numerical scale, or other image.

Prototypes of the technology have been developed. It should be quicker, cheaper (a fraction of a cent per hologram), and require less training than current tests.

Laser Cancer Detector


A lightning-fast “biocavity laser” has demonstrated accurate, real-time, high-throughput identification of liver tumor cells at their earliest stages, and did so without invasive chemical reagents. In contrast, the current norm is labor-intensive microscopic examination using “century-old cell-staining methods that can take days to complete and may give false readings.” The technology will advance early detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, and could potentially be applied to both solid and hematological cancer cells. The biocavity laser might also be able to reveal the metabolic and genetic changes in a stem cell as it turns into a functional cell type.

Physiome Project

Source article.

New Zealand bioengineers are assembling digital models of “every system and anatomical feature of the human body – from large organs to tiny cellular and molecular functions” as part of the international Physiome Project, writes Michael Behar in Wired. They have already finished a draft of the skeletal system, and recently built the first-ever digital human heart and lungs. “The lungs – with 300 million alveoli – inhale and exhale just like flesh-and-blood ones. Meanwhile, work is under way on a replica of the digestive system and a comprehensive database of cellular functions. Other system models – nervous, endocrine, immune, sensory, skin, kidney-urinary, reproductive – are coming.”

Other partners in the Physiome Project include researchers in the US, Israel, Japan, and the UK, and pharmaceutical companies – who could use the digital models to develop and test the effectiveness of medicines before clinical trials — are sniffing around the edges of the project. Physiome would also enable medical engineers to fashion customized artificial heart valves and other implants, and surgeons to pre-operate on a digital replica of their patient.

X-Ray Laser

Source article.

A microscope fitted with a source emitting X-rays in one direction in a laser-like beam would make nanometer-sized biomolecules perceivable in vivo, enabling (among other things) very early-stage cancer diagnosis at dramatically reduced risk. German and Austrian researchers have demonstrated the first source of such X-rays at a wavelength of 1 nanometer with a compact laboratory apparatus.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *