Dr. Rebekah Drezek, a scientist at the Optical Molecular Imaging and Nanobiotechnology Laboratory at Rice University, Houston, received the first laser-based infrared microscope available on the market from Daylight Solutions, Inc. to further develop her research on the early detection of cancer.
The device, known as Spero ™, marks a major innovation in imaging, since its laser-based infrared platform enables scientists to collect more precise data from human cells in a shorter period of time, with increased visibility and instantaneous results, says Daylight Solutions.
Spero’s technology fits in well with Drezek’s ongoing, critically acclaimed work. The researcher has dedicated a part of her work to the development of optical imaging technologies, from design to clinical testing. Her goal is to detect, diagnose, treat, and monitor the molecular signatures of cancer at an early stage.
The equipment brings new possibilities for more successful work in the lab, in Drezek’s opinion. “The combination of spectral tunability and rapid imaging in these wavelength ranges is unprecedented and we are very excited to begin using the system to develop enhanced optical cancer diagnostics.”
Spero will be used primarily in the study of breast cancer, a type of cancer that Dr. Drezek’s research has been focusing on.
Referring to Drezek and her team, Paul Larson, Daylight Solution’s president said that “we know that her talented team will leverage the advanced capabilities of the instrument to make a very significant impact on the continuing fight against breast cancer.”
The research team will divide their work in two phases. The first one will be focused on the demonstration of the advantages of a mid-infrared laser-based system over conventional microscopes and on the evaluation of Spero’s performance in collecting data.
The second phase of research will turn on the analysis of MCF10A and SKBR3 breast cell lines and on the predictive value of the information collected with this new infrared system in the detection of normal, cancer and cancer sub-types.
To this research, Dr. Drezek counts not only with Daylight’s microscope, but also with the funds of The National Science Foundation’s Small Business Engineering Research Center Collaborative Opportunity (SECO) program.