Published On: Sun, Apr 1st, 2018

Cancer Spread: Newly discovered ‘Organ’ could play role

Thanks to a laser-equipped mini-microscope developed by a French start-up, scientists have discovered a previously undetected feature of the human anatomy that could help explain why some cancers spread so quickly.

Breast cancer cell Source: National Cancer Institute

Nobody was looking for the interstitium, as the new quasi-organ is called, because no one knew it was there, at least not in complex form revealed in a study published this week.

As with many breakthroughs in medicine and science, it was — to paraphrase Louis Pasteur’s oft-quoted dictum — a case of chance favouring the prepared.

In 2015, a pair of doctors at New York’s Beth Israel Medical Center, David Carr-Locke and Petros Benias, found something unexpected while using the high-tech endoscopic probe to look for signs of cancer on a patient’s bile duct.

There on a screen, clear as day, was a lattice-like layer of liquid-filled cavities that did not match anything found in the anatomy chapters of medical school textbooks.

“These have no obvious correlate to known structures,” they noted dryly in the journal Scientific Reports.

And then the mystery deepened.

The doctors showed the images to a pathologist, Neil Theise, who used a thinly sliced fleck of tissue removed from the patient to prepare the kind of glass slides scientists have been peering at with microscopes for centuries.

But the novel layer of tissue simply wasn’t there — or at least it wasn’t visible.

Sacha Loiseau, founder and director of Mauna Kea Technologies, which made the camera-equipped probe that had revealed the phantom tissue, explained why.

“The classic microscope on a lab bench magnifies dead tissue from a biopsy that has been dehydrated and treated with chemicals,” he told AFP.

The meshwork of liquid bubbles visible in the patient’s body, in other words, had pancaked in the slides like a collapsed building, leaving hardly a trace.

A ‘highway of fluid’

“This made a fluid-filled tissue type throughout the body appear solid in biopsy slides,” Theise said in a statement.

“Our research corrects for this to expand the anatomy of most tissues.”

The probe bundles some 30,000 optic fibres topped by a camera barely bigger than the head of a pin. Lasers light up the tissue, and sensors analyse the reflected pattern.

“We have reinvented the microscope so that it can be inserted into the body of a patient to observe living tissue in its natural environment,” said Loiseau.

The result is a virtual, in-vivo biopsy.

The newly found network of fluid-filled pockets — held in place by collagen proteins, which are stiff, and more flexible elastin — may act like a shock absorber preventing tissue tear as organs, muscles and vessels go through their daily motions, the researchers said.

Once they knew what to look for, the scientists found interstitium throughout the body: below the skin’s surface, lining the digestive tract, in the lungs and urinary tract, and even surrounding arteries and veins.

Layers long thought to be dense, connective tissue, it turned out, were in fact interconnected and fluid-filled compartments.

Described as a “highway of moving fluid,” the meshwork “may be important in cancer metastasis,” the study suggested.

Scientists have long known that half the fluid in the body is found within cells, and about 14 percent inside the heart, blood vessels and lymphatic system.

The remaining fluid is “interstitial”, or between the cells, and the new study argues that the interstitium should be considered as an organ in it’s own right — indeed, one of the largest in the body.

Organ or not, “this finding has potential to drive dramatic advances in medicine, including the possibility that the direct sampling of interstitial fluid may become a powerful diagnostic too,” said Theise.

AFP

© 2018, Hallmarknews. All rights reserved. Reference and link to this site is required if you wish to reuse any article.

Reactions from Facebook

comments and opinions

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Most Shared

Recent posts

  • Why NNPC adopted contractors funding contract

    The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has explained why it has resorted to contractor-financing of its pipeline and other facilities development in recent times in the Industry. Delivering the Keynote speech at the Nigerian International Pipeline Technology and Security Conference (NIPITECS 2018) Tuesday in Abuja, the NNPC Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, stated that […]

  • Justice Kafarati explains why AMCON failed to recover N5.4trn debt

    The Chief Judge of Federal High Court, Abuja Division, Hon. Justice Adamu Abdu Kafarati, has said there is a need for judges in Nigeria to support the recovery efforts of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) since the corporation was established as a central element of government’s response to financial crisis in the country.  Justice […]

  • Equity market extends positive sentiment by 0.18%  

    The Nigerian equity market had its second consecutive rally on Friday, gaining 0.18 per cent, buoyed by sustained buy pressure. Sustained positive trading pushed the All Share Index (ASI) up by 59.28 absolute points, representing a growth of 0.18 per cent, to close at 32,540.17 points. The market upturn was on the back of the […]

  •  Why Polaris Bank was set up to take over Skye Bank—NDIC

    FELIX OLOYEDE The need to ensure the safety of depositors’ funds propelled the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) to establish Polaris Bank to succeed just defunct Skye Bank. NDIC disclosed said this today in a released signed by its Mohammed Ibrahim Head, Communications and Public Affairs, and he promised […]

  • My Mandate Is To Deliver The Ecobank Brand Promise As Platform Of Choice In Nigeria – Akinwuntan

    The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Mr Patrick Akinwuntan has reaffirmed that his mandate in Nigeria is to grow the Ecobank brand by delivering it as a brand of choice. The bank Managing Director stated that Ecobank service will be available and within the reach of every Nigerian either in their homes or locality through any […]

  • Experts blame shareholders as CBN revokes Skye Bank’s license

    FELIX OLOYEDE The failure of Skye Bank shareholders to recapitalize the bank, which has been battling with acute liquidity challenges is responsible for the revocation of its operating license of Skye Bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), experts have declared. Prof. Joseph Ajibola, former President, Chartered Institute of Banking of Nigeria (CIBN) opined […]

  • Bulls return to stock market, appreciates 0.33%

    By FELIX OLOYEDE The Nigerian equity market on Thursday trended upward, reversing the previous day’s negative sentiment. The bourse gained 0.33 per cent, propelled gains recorded in medium and large capitalized stocks with WAPCO setting the pace. The All Share Index (ASI) appreciated by 105.77 absolute points, representing a growth of 0.33 per cent to […]

  •  Elumelu Foundation to launch world’s largest digital platform for African entrepreneurs

    The Tony Elumelu Foundation has concluded all plans to launch the world’s largest digital platform for African entrepreneurs and the African entrepreneurship ecosystem –  TEFConnect. TEFConnect will officially be unveiled at this year’s TEF Forum, taking place on October 25, 2018, at Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos, Nigeria. Harnessing and building on the success of Africa’s […]

  • NNPC declares 46% trade surplus

    Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has stated on Thursday  that it had trade surplus of about 46 per cent in oil sales in the month of April, 2018. NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, in a statement noted that the trade surplus which amount to N17.16 billion was part of the highlight […]

  • 2018 GTBank Fashion Weekend to hold in November

    Fashion enthusiasts all over the world will be treated to an unparalleled exposé of Africa’s finest in fashion at the 3rd edition of the GTBank Fashion Weekend, which is bid to hold between  November 10-11, 2018, The two-day event will bring together renowned fashion personalities from around the world and budding small businesses in the […]

  • NDIC hosts IADI Africa Regional Committee AGM

    The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) will host the next edition of the International Association of Deposit Insurers (IADI) Africa Regional Committee (ARC) Annual General Meeting and Technical Assistance Workshop. The event which has been scheduled to hold at the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, Lagos from September, 25th – 27th 2018, would be focusing on Financial […]

  • Ambode 2019: The godfather’s revolt

    By OBINNA EZUGWU As uncertainty continues to hover around the second term bid of Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, following an alleged plot by the state’s political godfather, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu to hand the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ticket to the Managing Director of Lagos State Property Development Corporation (LSPDC), Mr. Babajide Sanwo-olu, […]

  • FG to generate N6bn from concession of 20 Silos

    The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved the Concessioning of 20 out of its 33 Silos to private sector operators at the cost of N6 billion. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, revealed this when he briefed State House correspondents on the outcome of the meeting of the Federal Executive […]

  • Insurance sector sell-off drags capital market down, loses 0.02%

    The Equity Market on Wednesday shed 0.02 per cent, reversing yesterday’s positive sentiment. The downturn was on the back of the massive sell-off in Insurance stocks among others, which dragged the All Share Index (ASI) down by 5.88 absolute points, representing a dip of 0.02%, closing at 32,375.12 points. The Market Capitalization also dipped by […]

  • Number of extremely poor continues to soar in Sub-Sahara Africa

    Although globally, extreme poverty has rapidly declined, the number of people living in extreme poverty is, however, on the rise in Sub-Saharan Africa, comprising more than half of the extreme poor in 2015, a new poverty estimates by the World Bank has shown. Forecasts also indicate that by 2030, nearly 9 in 10 extremely poor […]

  • MAN sets for 46th AGM as Jacobs bows out 

    The Manufacturer Association of Nigeria (MAN) has unveiled plans for its 46th Annual General Meeting and Manufacturers Annual lecture/Presidential Luncheon, which is scheduled for  September 26 and 27, 2018 in Lagos. The occasion will also see the outgoing President of MAN, Dr. Frank Udemba Jacobs end his 4-year tenure. The event will play host to […]