New method for imaging live tumor cells allows analysis of their behavior

6. Mar. 2019

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Metastasis is the cause of 90% of deaths in patients with solid tumors. Thanks to the new method of holographic microscopy developed by scientists from Radim Chmelík’s Experimental Biophotonics research group at CEITEC BUT, the observation and analysis of the invasive behavior of tumor cells may be possible even in the poorly transparent 3D environment of collagen gel that mimics the natural environment of the organism. Observations made in collaboration with Jan Brábek's team from BIOCEV revealed details of the interaction of the tumor cell with its surroundings during invasion. These findings may be useful in the future in finding more effective treatments for tumor invasiveness and metastasis.

Observing and analyzing the behavior of tumor cells in a 3D environment is crucial for the study of metastasis. An important optical method, which is non-invasive, i.e. without any staining of cells that can affect cellular functions, is the so-called phase imaging. However, it is very demanding in a turbid environment, such as collagen gel. Using the technique of coherence-controlled holographic microscopy (CCHM), scientists have succeeded in this quantitative observation and they have even been able to measure the amount of cell mass that is translocated during the investigated processes: "Through our method, we have been able to observe and analyze mesenchymal (enzymatic) and amoeboid (force driven) invasion of human tumor cells and evaluate some important phenomena that accompany invasion. Understanding the mechanisms of tumor cells invasion is very important for finding new anti-cancer treatment," says Radim Chmelík, head of the Experimental Biophotonics research group at CEITEC BUT.

Link to the publication:

TOLDE, O.; GANDALOVIČOVÁ, A.; KŘÍŽOVÁ, A.; VESELÝ, P.; CHMELÍK, R.; RÖSEL, D.; BRÁBEK, J. Quantitative phase imaging unravels new insight into dynamics of mesenchymal and amoeboid cancer cell invasion. Scientific Reports, 2018, no. 8, p. 1-13. ISSN: 2045-2322.