Friday, February 29, 2008
A LIGHT AROUND THE RING
The synchrotron light beam is up to 1,000 times brighter and more brilliant than standard infrared and X-ray lights. This intense light is produced when electrons moving close to the speed of light are directed by magnets, after leaving the storage ring, to the end work stations via a beam line.
The research team at the School of Biospectroscopy, Monash University was the first group to pioneer the use of synchrotron light on living organisms. One of their aims was to develop a diagnostic tool to probe the chemical structure and identify individual pre-cancerous cells of Cervical cancer.
Infrared spectroscopy uses synchrotron light shining through a single cell to obtain a spectrum that reveals its chemical composition. It gives all the biochemicals in a single cell in seconds. This is where the diagnosis of cervical cancer comes in. Cancer causes chemical changes in cells before they undergo morphological changes. This change is picked up in the spectra where it isn’t with the naked eye using a microscope.
The Papanicolou Test also know as a pap smear uses material from the cervix to test but this also contains many different types and stages of cells, red blood cells, white blood cells, bacteria, endocervical cells as well as cells already cancerous. This is the difference in this test, used now, and the test being developed that can identify a single cell before it becomes malignant. Researchers use a pattern recognition program to arrange spectra of tissue into recognisable groups. The program then creates a false colour picture of the cell and the cancer cell appears a different colour making them easy to recognise.
A diagnostic test of pre-cancerous cells. No testing of a cluster of cells already morphing into a tumour.
The Fermiscan test is also being trialed to confirm that breast cancer can be detected by
synchrotron X-ray diffraction of hair. The accuracy of diagnosis was 89%. The Fermiscan web page is full of information.