Wavelength-encoded laser particles for massively multiplexed cell tagging

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A new study, "Wavelength-encoded laser particles for massively multiplexed cell tagging," by scientists in the Wellman Center for Photomedicine has been published in Nature Photonics.

According to the study's researchers, "We have developed a new class of probes, particles, which are tiny lasers that can be inserted inside living cells. These laser particles are biocompatible, occupy only 0.1% of the volume of a typical cell and don't interfere with its normal behavior. We use the light emitted by these probes to tag and track cells as they move throughout complex biological samples. They can be thought as barcodes that can be used to distinguish cells from one another.

Conventional probes used to tag cells are based on fluorescence emission; scientists use different fluorescent molecules with different colors to distinguish different cells. Due to intrinsic limitations, however, fluorescence can only provide a handful of distinguishable colors, usually up to 4-5. Our new probes emit , which can produce many more distinguishable colors, around 400 in this work.

We have used these laser particles to tag and track their individual movement for days in a tumor spheroid (a system which mimics the growth of a tumor). In the future, we will be able to use this information to understand how tumors grow and identify specific cells with a higher potential of forming metastasis. It will be possible to single out these and perform further studies on them, like sequencing of their genetic profile. This will allow us to target with more intentionality, improving the options with which we can treat tumors in order to stop their spreading and formation of metastases."

Explore further

New imaging technique stimulates particles to emit laser light, could create higher-resolution images

More information: Nicola Martino et al, Wavelength-encoded laser particles for massively multiplexed cell tagging, Nature Photonics (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41566-019-0489-0
Journal information: Nature Photonics

Citation: Wavelength-encoded laser particles for massively multiplexed cell tagging (2019, July 23) retrieved 19 May 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2019-07-wavelength-encoded-laser-particles-massively-multiplexed.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors