(BBC) – Cambridge researchers created a model of virtual virtual reality (VR) in the form of cancer, providing a new way of looking at this disease.
A sample of the tumor, collected from the patient, can be examined in detail and from any angle, with each mapped cell.
Researchers say that this will increase our understanding of cancer and help in the search for new treatments.
The project is part of an international research program.
How did this happen
– Researchers start with a 1-millimeter section of a breast cancer biopsy containing about 100,000 cells
– Thin wafer slices are cut, scanned and then stained with markers to show their molecular structure and DNA characteristics
– Cancer is being rebuilt using virtual reality
– A 3D tumor can be analyzed in a virtual reality lab
The VR system allows many users from anywhere in the world to test the tumor.
Professor Greg Hannon, director of the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute (CRUK), told the BBC: "No one has ever studied the geography of the tumor at this level of detail, it's a new way of looking at cancer."
The "virtual cancer" project is part of the CRUK Grand Challenge.
Within the "virtual" lab, Professor Hannon became an avatar while the cancer represented a multi-colored mass of bubbles.
Although the sample of human tissue was about the size of a pin, it could be enlarged in the virtual laboratory to appear on several meters.
To examine the cancer in more detail, the VR system allowed us to "fly" through the cells.
The virtual tumor we looked at through our headphones was taken from the lining of the milk ducts.
When prof. Hannon turned the model, pointed to a group of cells that fly away from the main group: "Here you can see cancer cells that escaped from the tube.
"This may be the point where cancer spreads to the surrounding tissue – and it has become really dangerous – 3D tumor testing allows us to capture this moment."
Prof. Karen Vousden, principal scientist of CRUK, runs a laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute in London, which investigates how certain genes help us protect against cancer and what happens when something goes wrong.
She told the BBC: "Understanding how cancer cells interact with each other and with healthy tissue is crucial if we intend to develop new therapies – looking at tumors using this new system is much more dynamic than static 2D versions, we're used to. "
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