" />
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

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

  • Keystone Bank partners CeLD, launches ‘CashToken’ customers

    By OKEY ONYEMWEAKU  Fastest growing financial institution in Nigeria, Keystone Bank Limited, has partnered with a ‘Cash Reward as-a-Service Company’, CeLD Innovations Limited, to launch a ground-breaking product, ‘CashToken’, a new age of hyper consumer centricity in Nigeria. The new innovative product, CashToken, which was formally launched in Lagos on Thursday April 19, 2018 at […]

  • US oil hurts Nigeria, OPEC in Europe

    US oil producers are reaping the benefits of OPEC’s efforts to balance the crude market by flooding Europe with a record amount of crude, hurting traditional suppliers such as Nigeria. Russia paired with the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries last year in cutting oil output jointly by 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd), a deal […]

  • CBN ruins Black Market business, says Gwadabe

    Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) foreign exchange management policies have begun to put severe pressure on Nigeria’s parallel foreign currency market as ‘Black marketers’ begin to see their trading margins disappear. Indeed with more stable supply of forex and growing investor confidence on rising oil prices (currently at $74 per barrel) , the business of […]

  • Manufacturers groan despite improved bank liquidity

    By FELIX OLOYEDE Nigerian manufacturers are still credit-starved despite the improved liquidity of the banking sector. Although credit to the private sector has been rising, manufacturers have claimed that access to funds still pose a serious problem. Broad money in circulation increased 8.14 per cent to N2, 401.91 trillion in February 2018 compared to N2, […]

  • MAN, LCCI disagree over CFTA

    By UCHE CHRIS President Buhari seems to be coming under increasing pressure from both home and abroad over his refusal to sign the Continental Free Trade Area treaty last month at the meeting African Union Heads of states and government in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Also Nigerians particularly the business community are sharply divided over the […]

  • Gov. Wike: More garlands for Mr. Projects

    By OBINNA EZUGWU On Sunday April 15, 2018 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike was the cynosure of all eyes as he stood firm and composed to the cheering of the audience at the capacity hall to receive the prestigious Zik Prize for good governance. It was indeed an […]

  • The Sterling Bank spreadsheet… an uppity lenders burden

    By TESLIM SHITTA-BEY Despite not stirring excitement in recent years, Sterling Bank Plc has run a recession gauntlet and come out looking marvelous. The bank in 2017 grew its gross earnings by slightly under twenty per cent to 19.79 per cent between 2016 and 2017.  The banks gross earnings (a measure of its business volume) […]

  • Melaye released after being detained, police deny involvement

    Kogi West senator, Dino Melaye has been released from detention reports reaching Business Hallmark indicate. The Senator was released after being detained by officials of the immigration service at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on his way to Morocco The officials allege that he was detained based on an order from Interpol. However, the […]

  • Breaking: Senator Dino Melaye arrested at Abuja airport

      Senator Dino Melaye on Monday morning arrested after checking in at the international wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja. The embattled senator representing Kogi West on the platform of the APC, tweeted that he was picked up on his way to Morocco for an official engagement sponsored by the Nigerian government. Melaye was […]

  • Big Brother Naija 2018: Miracle claims N25m cash prize, brand new SUV

    Miracle Ikechukwu Igbokwe has emerged the winner of Big Brother Nigeria #BBNaija, reality show. Miracle beats one of the most controversial housemates, Cee-C to win the ultimate grand prize of N25million cash, a brand new SUV among other prizes. Miracle is a young pilot and also a model. A total of 170 million votes were […]

  • Economy: Nigeria receives massive vote of confidence – Adeosun

    …We will continue to build reserves and save for the rainy day – Emefiele From OKEY ONYENWEAKU, Washington D.C, USA Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun Saturday in Washington D.C, USA said Nigeria has been praised for her good economic outlook.  Speaking to Journalists during a combined briefing with the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. […]

  • Nigeria-US Investment Summit not included in our schedule, says Adeosun, Emefiele

    The Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun and the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, have explained the reasons why they were absent at the Nigeria-Us Investors Summit which was held in Washington, DC on Saturday. The summit is organised by the Embassy of Nigeria in the United State and the absence of […]

  • Nigerian banks must grow risk-weighted assets to remain competitive, says Coronation Merchant Bank report

    FELIX OLOYEDE Ability to create risk asset creation in the real sector would set apart leaders of the Nigerian banking industry over the next three years, a new report from Coronation Research, a part of Coronation Merchant Bank Group has stated. The report released last week claimed that while the quality of asset in the […]

  • Nigerian equities market sheds 0.28%

    The equities market closed negative last week as Nigerian Stock Exchange All-Share Index (NSE ASI) dropped by 0.28 per cent to 40,814.89 basis points. Similarly, all other indices finished lower with the exception of NSE Consumer Goods, NSE Premium, NSE-Main Board, NSE 30, NSE Banking, NSE Oil/Gas, and NSE Pension indices, which appreciated by 1.08 […]

  • SEC expresses worry over spate of delisting companies

    FELIX OLOYEDE The spate of highly capitalised companies delisting from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) calls for some concern, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has stated. The Acting Director General, Ms. Mary Uduk, while briefing pressmen on the outcome of the first Capital Market Committee (CMC) in 2018 on Friday, noted that this trend […]

  • Borno Mosque Attack: Four killed, eight injured Sunday morning

    Four people have been killed and eight others injured in a suicide attack on a mosque in Bama Local Government Council, Borno state. The State Emergency Managment Agency (SEMA) chairman, Yabawa Kolo, confirmed the death toll on Channels Television. The incident occurred when two suicide bombers, a male and female between the ages of  13 and 14 invaded […]