Fast, Noninvasive Technique For Probing Cells May Reveal Disease

The stiffness or elasticity of a cell can reveal much about whether the cell is healthy or diseased. Cancer cells, for instance, are known to be softer than normal, while asthma-affected cells can be rather stiff. Determining the mechanical properties of cells may thus help doctors diagnose and track the progression of certain diseases. Current methods for doing this involve directly probing cells with expensive instruments, such as atomic force microscopes and optical tweezers, which make direct, invasive contact with the cells.

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