Surgeons could know while their patients are still on the operating table if a tissue is cancerous, according to researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School.
In the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, a team led by ORNL’s Vilmos Kertesz describes an automated droplet-based surface sampling probe that accomplishes in about 10 minutes what now routinely takes 20 to 30 minutes. Kertesz expects that time to be cut to four to five minutes soon. For this proof-of-concept demonstration, researchers rapidly profiled two hormones from human pituitary tissue.
“Instead of having to cut and mount tissue and wait for a trained pathologist to review the sample under a microscope, a technician might soon perform an equally conclusive test in the operating environment,” Kertesz said.
The new mass spectrometry-based technology provides an attractive alternative to the traditional method called immunohistochemistry, or IHC, which looks for specific protein biomarkers to make a diagnosis. Although the IHC approach provides a high degree of spatial recognition, it is time-consuming and limited by the quality and specificity of the antibody used to detect the protein. [Read more…]