DEC 23, 2014 12:00 AM PST

First Lens-Free Microscope Permits High-Throughput 3-D Tissue Imaging - Pathology-lab friendly

WRITTEN BY: Judy O'Rourke
A lens-free microscope devised by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) detects cancer and other cellular-level irregularities with the precision of larger and more pricey optical microscopes, and is the first such instrument for high-throughput 3-D tissue imaging.

"This is a milestone in the work we've been doing," says Aydogan Ozcan, PhD, who serves as the associate director of UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute. "This is the first time tissue samples have been imaged in 3-D using a lens-free on-chip microscope."

The instrument uses a laser or light-emitting-diode to throw light on a tissue or blood sample on a slide. A sensor array on a microchip registers shadow patterns made by the sample and processes them as holograms, developing 3-D images of the specimen-which offers a virtual depth-of-field view. The reconstructed images are then color-coded by an algorithm, which sharpens the contrasts in the samples. The images that are hundreds of times larger in area compared with images captured by conventional bright-field optical microscopes, permitting faster specimen processing.

Ozcan's team tested the instrument using Pap smears that manifested cervical cancer, tissue specimens that included cancerous breast cells, and blood samples with sickle cell anemia. A board-certified pathologist analyzed specimen images in a blind test-some created by this lens-free technology, others by conventional microscopes. Diagnoses made with this new technology were unerring 99 percent of the time.

This microscope could pave the way for less costly and more transportable technology for viewing tissue, blood, and other specimens. "While mobile health care has expanded rapidly with the growth of consumer electronics-cellphones in particular-pathology is still, by and large, constrained to advanced clinical laboratory settings," Ozcan says. "Accompanied by advances in its graphical user interface, this platform could scale up for use in clinical, biomedical, scientific, educational, and citizen-science applications, among others."

Among Ozcan's lab's other innovations are bespoke smartphone attachments and apps that facilitate cell counts in blood samples, and using Google Glass to process diagnostic test results.

The research is the cover article in the most recent issue of Science Translational Medicine, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The article, titled "Wide-field computational imaging of pathology slides using lens-free on-chip microscopy," can be found here: bit.ly/13m92Nl

IMAGE: Tissue sample image created by a new lens-free microscope developed in the UCLA lab of Aydogan Ozcan. [Image courtesy Aydogan Ozcan, UCLA]
About the Author
  • Judy O'Rourke worked as a newspaper reporter before becoming chief editor of Clinical Lab Products magazine. As a freelance writer today, she is interested in finding the story behind the latest developments in medicine and science, and in learning what lies ahead.
You May Also Like
OCT 05, 2018
Earth & The Environment
OCT 05, 2018
Visualizing your home's air quality
Air quality is largely invisible. But what if you could see it? I’m not talking about air pollution that’s so bad that the whole city is covere...
OCT 09, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
OCT 09, 2018
Using Genetics to Predict Height, Bone Density, Educational Attainment
This tool might be used in the future to forecast many different traits....
NOV 06, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
NOV 06, 2018
Mapping the Brain
The brain still holds many mysteries, but scientists are finding ways to learn more about how it works....
NOV 11, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 11, 2018
Rocket Lab Successfully Sends Electron Rocket on its First Commercial Flight
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket quickly became of the most prominent means of commercial and private satellite launches, but sending such a massive rocket t...
DEC 08, 2018
Videos
DEC 08, 2018
Repairing Broken Bones With 3D-Printed Scaffolds
Titanium implants and bone grafts can be painful. Researchers are creating a better way to fix damaged bones....
DEC 09, 2018
Space & Astronomy
DEC 09, 2018
NASA's InSight Lander Captured the Sound of Martian Wind
It’s been less than two weeks since NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander touch...
Loading Comments...