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Image of the Week: Tracking cell interactions in living bodies

Researchers at Stanford have developed a new technique that illuminates cell-to-cell interactions using light-emitting proteins that glow when two types of cells come close together. Scientists employed the process to see how different types of cells interact in a living mouse. They described their work in a paper recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. As outlined in a medical school release last month:

Using the technique, the team was able to pinpoint where in the body metastatic cancer cells ended up after they broke off from an initial tumor site, using readily available lab reagents. The team chose chemicals that are easily available in most life sciences laboratories because they wanted to develop a technique that could be widely used.

The above image shows the activator cancer cell culture, which contains a chemical that causes the cells to emit light when in the presence of immune cells.

Via Biomedical Beat
Photo by Mark Sellmyer

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