Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Microscopic Bumps

Scanning the surface texture of cells in urine using specialised microscopy reveals a difference between cancerous and normal cells

04 January 2019

Microscopic Bumps

In the UK alone, bladder cancer causes 5,300 deaths each year. Survival rates are higher if the cancer is detected before it spreads beyond the cells that coat the inside of the bladder wall. However, many of the diagnostic methods doctors currently use are expensive and invasive, often requiring painful procedures to collect tissue samples from patients. Scientists have recently developed an easier, painless way of screening for bladder cancer using a type of very high-resolution microscopy, the team were able to tell between healthy (left) and cancerous (right) cells taken from a patient’s urine sample, just by analysing the bumps and grooves on the surfaces of the cells. Not only is this screening technique non-invasive, it is also better able to detect bladder cancer than currently used methods. Regular patient screening using this approach could help doctors to catch the disease earlier before it spreads.

Written by Gaëlle Coullon

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