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New Microscope May Enable Faster Diagnosis of Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is a challenging disease for many reasons. The rare and always fatal form of cancer does not make its symptoms known until decades after the patient has been exposed to asbestos, and during that lapse of time it takes strong hold in the body, invisibly invading the lining of the lungs or the abdomen in a way that makes it very difficult to treat. Once symptoms do appear it takes a long time to diagnose the disease, both because its symptoms closely resemble more benign illnesses, and because the testing that needs to be done on blood and cancer cells is so intricate. But now a new microscope invented by scientists at the California NanoSystems Institute at UCLA may hold the key to faster diagnosis, and that means that patients could begin to receive life-extending treatments more quickly too.

The new microscope utilizes a combination of super-speed imaging combined with an artificial intelligence computer program to enable it to create highly-detailed images of the cells being examined and then to identify whether they are a specific type of cancer cell based on physical characteristics that it has learned in the past. The imaging capability is a result of a discovery by Barham Jalali, professor and Northrop-Grumman Optoelectronics Chair in electrical engineering. It is called photonic time stretch, and uses laser bursts and special optics that take photos in nanoseconds that a normal instrument would not be able to capture — the instrument records 36 million images per second. Then the program uses complex algorithms to interpret what is seen in the image with a cancer identification accuracy rate of 95 percent.

The technology is a marked improvement over previous technology, which generally operates by adding chemicals to blood samples that then attach to cancer cells. These biochemical damage the cells, making it impossible for them to be used again. The process can also take a long time, and is nowhere near as accurate as the new system.

The researchers who developed this remarkable microscope hope that it will not only lead to faster and more accurate diagnosis, but also to provide researchers with key information that they can use regarding the nature of different cancers and lead to new treatments.

Though researchers are developing new and better ways of treating and caring for mesothelioma patients, the asbestos that caused their disease continues to be a problem, sickening innocent victims. Further, those who were exposed decades ago by unethical asbestos companies continue to be diagnosed. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with mesothelioma or another asbestos-related disease, the attorneys at Danziger & De Llano can help. We understand how devastating a mesothelioma diagnosis is, and how much it impacts your family, and we work hard to get you the compensation and justice that you deserve from those responsible for your illness. Call us today to set up a free consultation to discuss what we can do to help.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an experienced blog writer, editor, and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of expertise include health, medical research, and law.

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