A new state-of-the art microscope will revolutionise the detection of cancer in Scotland

The Scotsman.com has reported that a NEW state-of-the art microscope is currently under construction at the Edinburgh Cancer Research UK Centre at the city’s Western General Hospital. This new microscope will revolutionise the detection and treatment of cancer in Scotland by giving scientists the ability to track rogue cells as they move around the body.

This £400,000 microscope, one of only two in the world (the other one is at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts)  uses “vibrational” images to allow researchers to see deep into active cancer cells, giving a unique view of how the disease spreads.  Most cancer deaths are caused when diseased cells migrate within the body – a process called metastasis – and develop as secondary tumours. The new equipment will help researchers establish if a cancer has spread, and whether drugs might prevent this.

 Dr Alan Serrels who is a Cancer Research UK scientist is building the microscope with colleague Andy Downes from the School of Engineering at the University of Edinburgh.  Serrels said: “This microscope allows researchers to see what’s going on deep within living tissue. By spying on the inner workings of cells in this way, it will reveal clues as to how cancers grow and spread, as well as allowing scientists to directly witness the effects of treatments on tumours. The work will significantly improve our understanding of metastasis and reveal opportunities to develop new treatments to stop cancer in its tracks.”

It is hoped the technology will eventually lead to the development of new treatments to stop the disease spreading.

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