Eventually they’re hoping this work will lead to insights about diabetes and cancer. In the meantime, researchers at RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies (Japan) have developed a new imaging technique that allows them to observe metal molecules interacting with biomolecules in real-time. From the May 2, 2013 news release on EurekAlert,
Metal elements and molecules interact in the body but visualizing them together has always been a challenge. Researchers from the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies in Japan have developed a new molecular imaging technology that enables them to visualize bio-metals and bio-molecules simultaneously in a live mouse. This new technology will enable researchers to study the complex interactions between metal elements and molecules in living organisms.
It’s well known we need zinc, iron, and copper in our bodies for proper functioning. Until now, no one has been able to observe the interaction in real-time, from the RIKEN May 2, 2013 press release (which originated the EurekAlert news release),
In the study, the researchers were able to visualise two radioactive agents injected in a tumor-bearing mouse, as well as an anti-tumor antibody labelled with a PET molecular probe agent, simultaneously in the live mouse.
This new revolutionary technology is expected to offer new insights into the relationships between bio-metal elements and associated bio-molecules, and the roles they play in diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
The researchers had to create a camera capable of visualizing the interactions (from the RIKEN press release),
Dr. Shuichi Enomoto, Dr. Shinji Motomura and colleagues, from the RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies have developed a gamma-ray imaging camera enabling them to detect the gamma-rays emitted by multiple bio-metal elements in the body and study their behavior.
Their second prototype of the system, called GREI–II and presented today in the Journal of Analytical Atomic Spectrometry, enables them to visualize multiple bio-metal elements more than 10 times faster than before, and to do so simultaneously with positron emission tomography (PET).
You can find the research study here.
For those unfamiliar with RIKEN, here’s more from their About RIKEN page,
RIKEN is Japan’s largest comprehensive research institution renowned for high-quality research in a diverse range of scientific disciplines. Founded in 1917 as a private research foundation in Tokyo, RIKEN has grown rapidly in size and scope, today encompassing a network of world-class research centers and institutes across Japan.