Interpretation of the tests of tissue of a patient, for example, decoding test for the presence of cancer cells, be performed by a specialist in histology, and this procedure may take weeks to see the full effect. Innovative and exceptionally quick way of displaying mass spectrometry (MSI), in turn, uses technology that show how hundreds or even thousands of chemical components are distributed in the tissue sample.
Finally, researchers from Imperial College London presented the project data of mass spectrometry and constructing a database of tissue types. In MSI the beam overcomes the surface of the sample, producing a pixel image. Each pixel contains data on thousands of chemical elements that exist in a particular part of the sample. Analyzing numerous samples, and comparing them with the results of traditional histological analysis, the computer can learn to identify different types of tissues.
One-time test, which takes only a few hours, can give much more detailed information than standard histological tests. For example, identifying not only the fact whether the tissue is malignant, but also the type and subtype of cancer, which is extremely important to select the best treatment. The technology can also be applied in diverse studies, giving a new understanding of cancer biology.
Dr. Cyril Veselkov, author of studies in the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London believes that MSI is an extremely promising technology, but the data analysis is very specific and very complicated, which prevents the spread in MSI clinics. Although, it should be noted that mass spectrometry may be the first step to creating the next generation of fully automated histological analysis.
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