(Mirror Daily, United States) As technology develops, doctors put it to good use. A recent experiment conducted in Germany turned a regular lab rodent into a transparent one, and the process enabled researchers to examine the mouse’ central nervous system. Now how does this revolution medicine?
Research on lab mice has been a widespread method for years and years. It is cheap but comes with the cost of killing 25 million small lab animals each year. German neurobiologist Ali Erturk (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) comes with a revolutionary solution, which implies medical engineering. His new method was called “ultimate 3D imaging of solvent-cleared organs” (uDISCO).
What this new technique does is to turn certain organisms transparent, thus exposing their systems, including the central nervous system. It can work on mice, rats and other animals they have tested for, which have also been shrunk in order to fit the appliances.
According to Yahoo News, doctor Ali Erturk explains the functioning of the method in detail:
“(…)preserves fluorescent proteins over months and renders intact organs and rodent bodies transparent while reducing their size up to 65%. We used uDISCO to image neuronal connections and vasculature from head to toe over 7 cm and to perform unbiased screening of transplanted stem cells within the entire body of adult mice.”
The technique also provides doctors and researchers with a 3D image of the body of the animal they are investigating on and enables them to zoom areas of their interest.
Scientists agree on that it is an important discovery and that, if further developed, it can be used on humans postmortem, to determine the cause of death, or when eradicating tumors during surgery. The new technique will make other jobs, like scanning, much easier and rapid, as scanning could be performed at least ten times faster than it is currently being done.
Doctor Ali Erturk is particularly interested in the central nervous system, as he declared for Business Insider:
“Governments are putting in billions of dollars to map the human brain. But it’s like going out of the solar system — it’s impossible with current technology.”
Technology and medicine seem to go hand and hand, even more, if there are brilliant minds that can connect the two. Only time will tell how advanced methods and techniques can get to be, and how they will save people’s lives.
The paper was published in Nature Methods, on August 22.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia