Cancer is visible from the inside.
This is what allows a three-dimensional model of the tumor, which can be investigated using virtual reality technology.
A virtual tumor developed by scientists from the University of Cambridge provides a new way to see and understand the disease.
The cancer in question can be studied in detail and from all sides, with each individual mapped cell, that is, graphically.
Researchers say a model made from a patient’s tumor sample will improve our understanding of cancer and will help in finding new treatments.
For the project, which is part of an international study, scientists used a 1-millimeter breast cancer tissue biopsy and about 100,000 different cells.
Very thin sections were removed from the sample. it is scannedpon and then paintpop with markers show its molecular composition and DNA characteristics.
After that, the tumor was reconstructed using virtual reality. This can be analyzed in any laboratory that has this technology.
In fact, the virtual reality system allows multiple users from anywhere in the world to explore a tumor.
“No one has previously investigated the geography of a tumor with such a level of detail; this is a new look at cancer"Professor Greg Hannon, director of the British Cancer Research Institute in Cambridge (CRUK), told the BBC.
The Virtual Tumor project is part of the CRUK Grand Challenge Awards.
Inside the “virtual” lab, Professor Hannon and I became avatars.Cancer is represented by a mass of multi-colored bubbles.
Although the human tissue sample was about the size of a pinhead, it could be expanded to a few meters wide inside a virtual lab.
To examine the tumor in more detail, virtual reality system allowed us to "fly through the cells",
And while Professor Hannon turned the model, he pointed to a group of cells that flew out of the main group: "Here you can see some tumor cells that came out of the breast milk duct, from which a sample of breast cancer was taken."
"It may be the moment when the cancer has spread to the surrounding tissues, and It became really dangerous. A 3D study of the tumor allows us to capture this moment, ”he said.
Professor Karen Woosden, chief scientist at CRUK, leads the laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute in London, which studies how specific genes help protect us from cancer and what happens when they fail.
"Understanding how cancer cells interact with each other and with healthy tissue is fundamental if we are going to develop new treatments, "he explained.
“This system is much more dynamic than the static versions in 2D we are used to,” said Wouden.