Scientists have devised a technique for visualising tissues that could aid diagnosis and treatment of diseases including cancer.
Doctors may also be able to check how well a patient is responding to a treatment by monitoring changes occurring in cells.
A team led by the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Inflammation Research has developed probes that light up specific targets inside a cell.
Researchers can track this tag using microscopes to see where the target is being produced by the cell.
Peptides are a powerful tool for spotting small signs of disease but until now we did not have a good way of tracking them. With this new technology, we can make probes to detect diseases with more accuracy and at earlier stages
Dr Marc Vendrell
Lecturer in Biomedical Imaging, MRC Centre for Inflammation Research
Because the new probes are more sensitive than existing probes, researchers will be able to quantify exactly how much of the target is being produced by each cell.
This will enable them to detect tiny changes in the molecular make-up of tissues that could be the early warning sign of a disease.
Tracking these changes over time could also offer clues about how well a patient is responding to treatment.