Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Understanding the Electricity of Breast Cancer Cells

01.04.2010
Research Could Lead to the Development of Earlier Detection

Building on previous findings demonstrating that breast cancer cells emit unique electromagnetic signals, engineering researchers at the University of Arkansas have found that a single cancerous cell produces electric signals proportional to the speed at which the cell divides. Their model reveals that heightened movement of ions at the boundary of the cancerous cell produces larger electrical signals.

The findings will help scientists understand the biophysics associated with rapidly dividing breast cancer cells and may contribute to the development of new detection and treatment techniques.

“All cells maintain a difference in voltage between their intracellular and extracellular media,” said Ahmed Hassan, doctoral student in electrical engineering. “Previous work found that MCF-7, a standard breast cancer cell line, hyperpolarizes – meaning simply that it increases its membrane voltage in negative polarity – during two critical stages prior to cell division. What we’re trying to do is build a better understanding of how this complicated mechanism works.”

Hassan works under the direction of Magda El-Shenawee, associate professor of electrical engineering. In previous work, El-Shenawee created a microwave-imaging system that provides sharp, three-dimensional images of hard objects buried within soft tissue. She was able to do this by transmitting and receiving electromagnetic waves that traveled through soft tissue and bounced off the hard object.

The new direction of El-Shenawee’s research does not require transmission of electromagnetic waves. Rather, in a process known as passive biopotential diagnosis – special sensors only receive electromagnetic waves. They read the unique signals released by activity within and around a growing tumor. As mentioned above, Hassan and El-Shenawee focused on a single cell, which may help researchers recognize abnormalities long before cell aggregates reach the tumor stage. A 1-millimeter tumor comprises tens of thousands of cells.

To understand the biomagnetic signals of a single breast cancer cell, Hassan and El-Shenawee created a two-dimensional, biophysics-based model with computer simulations that allowed them to obtain densities of electrical current based on space and time. They then integrated the current densities to calculate the biomagnetic fields produced by a cancerous lesion. The model avoided the risk of oversimplification by placing the cell in a semi-finite, dynamic environment with realistic anatomical features such as cell membranes, blood vessels and surrounding tissue boundaries.

They focused on hyperpolarization during what is known as the G1/Synthesis transition, a critical process that occurs within a cell before it starts to divide. During the G1 stage, the cell grows and proteins are created. The Synthesis stage includes DNA synthesis and chromosome replication to provide a new set of chromosomes for a new cell. As Hassan mentioned, previous experimental measurements on cancerous MCF-7 cells revealed that during the transition between the G1 and Synthesis stages, electrical changes occurred.

The numerical results of the Arkansas research validated the findings above. Beyond this, Hassan and El-Shenawee discovered that shorter G1/Synthesis-transition durations and heightened movement of ions at the cell boundary was associated with a higher magnitude of electromagnetic signals.

In a future study, the researchers will couple the single-cell model with a tumor-growth model to produce simulations of electric signals created by a whole tumor.

“We are motivated to provide a tool for understanding experimental measurements that prove that growing tumor cells indeed generate electric signals,” El-Shenawee said. “This multidisciplinary model has the potential to advance the biopotential diagnosis system to achieve high accuracy in measuring benign versus malignant tumors. Another benefit is that there would be no side effects, as no chemical or radiation would be sent into the body.”

The researchers’ computer modeling work was done using Star of Arkansas, a supercomputer in the Arkansas High Performance Computing Center at the University of Arkansas.

Their study was published in a recent issue of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. Copies of the study are available upon request.

CONTACTS:
Magda El-Shenawee, associate professor, electrical engineering
College of Engineering
479-575-6582, magda@uark.edu
Ahmed Hassan, doctoral student, electrical engineering
College of Engineering
479-575-7757, amhassan@uark.edu
Matt McGowan, science and research communications officer
University Relations
479-575-4246, dmcgowa@uark.edu

Matt McGowan | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uark.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht An evolutionary heads-up – The brain size advantage
22.05.2015 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

nachricht Endocrine disrupting chemicals in baby teethers
21.05.2015 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Kieler Forschende bauen die kleinsten Maschinen der Welt

Die DFG stellt Millionenförderung für die Entwicklung neuartiger Medikamente und Materialien an der Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU) bereit.

Großer Jubel an der Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU): Wie die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) heute (Donnerstag, 21. Mai) bekannt gab,...

Im Focus: Basler Physiker entwickeln Methode zur effizienten Signalübertragung aus Nanobauteilen

Physiker haben eine innovative Methode entwickelt, die den effizienten Einsatz von Nanobauteilen in elektronische Schaltkreisen ermöglichen könnte. Sie entwickelten dazu eine Anordnung, bei der ein Nanobauteil mit zwei elektrischen Leitern verbunden ist. Diese bewirken eine hocheffiziente Auskopplung des elektrischen Signals. Die Wissenschaftler vom Departement Physik und dem Swiss Nanoscience Institute der Universität Basel haben ihre Ergebnisse zusammen mit Kollegen der ETH Zürich in der Fachzeitschrift «Nature Communications» publiziert.

Elektronische Bauteile werden immer kleiner. In Forschungslabors werden bereits Bauelemente von wenigen Nanometern hergestellt, was ungefähr der Grösse von...

Im Focus: Basel Physicists Develop Efficient Method of Signal Transmission from Nanocomponents

Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.

Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...

Im Focus: Phagen übertragen Antibiotikaresistenzen auf Bakterien – Nachweis auf Geflügelfleisch

Bakterien entwickeln immer häufiger Resistenzen gegenüber Antibiotika. Es gibt unterschiedliche Erklärungen dafür, wie diese Resistenzen in die Bakterien gelangen. Forschende der Vetmeduni Vienna fanden sogenannte Phagen auf Geflügelfleisch, die Antibiotikaresistenzen auf Bakterien übertragen können. Phagen sind Viren, die ausschließlich Bakterien infizieren können. Für Menschen sind sie unschädlich. Phagen könnten laut Studie jedoch zur Verbreitung von Antibiotikaresistenzen beitragen. Die Erkenntnisse sind nicht nur für die Lebensmittelproduktion sondern auch für die Medizin von Bedeutung. Die Studie wurde in der Fachzeitschrift Applied and Environmental Microbiology veröffentlicht.

Antibiotikaresistente Bakterien stellen weltweit ein bedeutendes Gesundheitsrisiko dar. Gängige Antibiotika sind bei der Behandlung von Infektionskrankheiten...

Im Focus: Die schreckliche Schönheit der Medusa

Astronomen haben mit dem Very Large Telescope der ESO in Chile das bisher detailgetreueste Bild vom Medusa-Nebel eingefangen, das je aufgenommen wurde. Als der Stern im Herzen dieses Nebels altersschwach wurde, hat er seine äußeren Schichten abgestoßen, aus denen sich diese farbenfrohe Wolke bildete. Das Bild lässt erahnen, welches endgültige Schicksal die Sonne einmal ereilen wird: Irgendwann wird aus ihr ebenfalls ein Objekt dieser Art werden.

Dieser wunderschöne Planetarische Nebel ist nach einer schrecklichen Kreatur aus der griechischen Mythologie benannt – der Gorgone Medusa. Er trägt auch die...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

TU Darmstadt: Gipfel der Verschlüsselung - CROSSING-Konferenz am 1. und 2. Juni in Darmstadt

22.05.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Internationale neurowissenschaftliche Tagung

22.05.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Biokohle-Forscher tagen in Potsdam

21.05.2015 | Veranstaltungen

 
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Nanogefäß mit einer Perle aus Gold

22.05.2015 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Ferngesteuerte Mikroschwimmer: Jülicher Physiker simulieren Bewegungen von Bakterien an Oberflächen

22.05.2015 | Physik Astronomie

Was Chromosomen im Innersten zusammenhält

22.05.2015 | Biowissenschaften Chemie