A group of researchers has developed a light-scattering method for mapping the mechanical properties of a tumor’s cellular structure and internal fluids, revealing changes caused by chemotherapy treatment. The technique can help to distinguish malignant cell populations and assess the efficacy of anticancer treatments.
The researchers used a noncontact imaging technique that takes advantage of natural matter vibrations. The team’s technique does not use contrast agents and thus does not interfere with tissue function.
The researchers created organoids from tumor cells to mimic the behavior of colorectal tumors in vitro. They targeted the organoids with a red laser beam. They discovered that the color of the light beam as it passed through and exited the sample was slightly affected by the tiny vibrations of these samples caused by thermal agitation. The team created images showing the variations in mechanical properties within the tumor/organoid by analyzing this light. A mechanical property map of the model tumors was created. The results showed that the faster the vibrations and the greater the color change, the more rigid the area scanned by the laser.
The researchers also used the light-scattering method to track local changes in the mechanical properties of a tumor following drug treatment to demonstrate the treatment’s efficacy gradient.