University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Phase Holographic Imaging (PHI) have agreed to expand their on-going collaboration and establish a regional Holographic Imaging Cytometry Center of Excellence, located at the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
By providing education and technical support, the center will bring the benefits of holographic imaging to the UCSF research community. The recurring UCSF-PHI symposium will continue to serve as a forum for scientists worldwide who develop new therapies and diagnostic techniques for melanoma and other cancers.
The realization that a very small sub-population of rare cancer cells controls tumor growth and spreading has led to a growing demand for a new generation of scientific instruments that can individually analyze unstained cancer cells over several cell generations, while maintaining physiological relevance.
“Our research focuses on identifying the needle in the haystack — finding, within the myriad of cell types that constitute human skin, the very rare cells with the highest potential for transforming into aggressive cancers. Experimentally, this translates to monitoring the behavior and morphology of individual cells in a large population. Holographic imaging cytometry is a label-free and quantitative method that allows us to conduct these experiments. Our collaboration with PHI has been instrumental in establishing this emerging technology at UCSF. My team has worked closely with PHI scientists for over three years to develop the strategies needed for our research, permitting us to ask questions previously closed to us. With the establishment of the Center of Excellence we continue this productive partnership to advance both the breadth of applications for holographic cytometry and the diversity of research laboratories at UCSF, utilizing these approaches”, said Dr. Robert Judson-Torres, Principal Investigator at UCSF.
Peter Egelberg, CEO of PHI, explains: “As human cells are transparent, conventional cell analysis methods generally require that the cells are either invasively stained biochemically or through genetic manipulation. Fluorescent and other stains are visible because they partially absorb the illuminating light. The absorbed light is transformed into energy that harms the cells, which compromises physiological relevance and limits the ability to analyze cells over time. Holographic imaging cytometry instead visualizes the cells individually without stains, by quantifying how the illuminating light is distorted when passing through the transparent cells.”
The speakers at the UCSF-PHI symposium 2018
“In presentations at SPIE 2018 and at this year’s UCSF-PHI symposium, Dr. Judson-Torres showed that by combining holographic imaging cytometry with machine-learning his team was able to non-invasively characterize and classify individual cancer cells, with an accuracy of 95 %. We look forward to continue supporting UCSF researchers when they buildon these encouraging results to further define the future role of holographic imaging cytometry and machine-learning in cancer research”, Egelberg concludes.
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