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Using circular polarised light to evaluate cell differentiation status in vivo

24 months
Approved budget:
Professor Michael Eccles
Health issue:
Cancer (oncology)
Proposal type:
Explorer Grant
Lay summary
From our recent unpublished research in photonics and cell physiology we have generated preliminary data using cancer tissues and circular polarised light, allowing us to evaluate cancer cell aggressiveness. Using this methodology we now plan to address an underinvestigated area in cell and tissue research; the relationship of nucleus size to cell differentiation. Little is known about factors regulating nucleus size in relation to differentiation status in cells. Our new methodology measures increased aggressiveness in cancer tissues due to changes occurring in the optical properties of the cells, associated with an increased nuclear to cytoplasm ratio as the cancer cells become progressively less differentiated and more aggressive. Here we will investigate whether this methodology can determine differentiation status in live cells and whether it can be used to evaluate aggressiveness in cancer cells in vivo. This project could result in new investigative approaches to live cancer and stem cell differentiation.