What if a doctor can diagnose your cancer using your phone?
This new study looks at the use of a smartphone in clinical research.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the University at Albany have shown that when they use the smartphone in conjunction with a microscope, they can take images of cancer cells and show the structures that they are made of.
The study is published in the journal ACS Nano.
“We show that using the smartphone to view cancer cells on a microscope and to visualize the structure of the cells are both very useful for identifying cancer cells,” said study leader Dr. Michael P. O’Neill, professor of medicine at the University At Albany.
“Our study provides new ways to study cancer on the molecular level and also to image and visualize the cancer cells at the molecular, cellular and physiological level.”
The researchers used the smartphone for several different experiments.
They used it to take images on a microfluidic display and on a spectrometer.
They also used it for a test of the effect of ultraviolet light on the structure and function of a sample of tumor cells.
“Using the smartphone as a microscope is a very interesting tool for the future, because it allows us to visualize and study cancer cells in unprecedented detail,” O’Neil said.
“The smartphone also provides us with great opportunity to test the use in the clinic of the smartphone’s capabilities, such as in a diagnostic procedure where we can take photos of cancer and see the structures, which can be very useful in diagnosing the disease.”
The study showed that using a microscope in conjunction is a viable option for imaging the structures of tumors, including the structure that they make.
The researchers hope to expand their findings to a wide range of different types of cancer, from breast cancer to melanoma, and beyond.
“In addition to the cancer-specific studies, we also showed that imaging of tumors and using the phone to study them allows us also to visualize their cell-cell interactions and to show their structural changes,” O ‘Neill said.
This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.