A team of University of Michigan researchers have discovered how to use lasers to see intricate cell structure and activity in human blood. Shining laser light on whole human blood combined with a fluorescent dye reveals incredible detail, according to the researchers, leading to hope the technology can improve how doctors monitor cell activity in the body, including how to identify tumors.


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The researchers, led by Biomedical Engineering professor Xudong (Sherman) Fan, tested out their technique by shining a laser into a cavity containing whole human blood mixed with Indocyanine green, a medical dye used in diagnostic tests. By examining the light reflected back at them, they discovered they could see changes happening to the cells all the way down to the molecular level.

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The precise picture allows observers to see the even smallest changes and to tune out unnecessary background details. Even though the technique has only been used outside the human body, the researchers are hopeful it can be applied in the future to living tissue. Medical teams could be able to more accurately monitor cell activity in the body, as well as see how widely blood vessel-fed tumors expand when performing surgery to remove them.

+ University of Michigan

Via Daily Mail

Images via Pixabay, University of Michigan