Beautiful Science

Cancer is a multi-faceted disease generally caused by normal human cells which turn cancerous because of defects, an imbalance of immune-cell response and the remodelling or destruction of surrounding normal tissue, which is called stroma.

Pictured here is the tumour immuno-stromal microenvironment of triple-negative breast cancer.

It comprises CD8 T-cells (green), CD20 B-cells (white), regulatory T-cells (pink) and tumour cells (light red).

The green fibres running across the image are tissue collagen.

The image was captured using a novel imaging technology that integrates multi-photon pathology imaging technology - a laser-based technique that allows 3D and 2D assessment of tissue samples - with the immunofluorescent staining technique.

This identifies different cells and their characteristics, says Dr Joe Yeong, a visiting scientist at the Singapore General Hospital's Department of Anatomical Pathology.

Cancer is a multi-faceted disease generally caused by normal human cells which turn cancerous because of defects, an imbalance of immune-cell response and the remodelling or destruction of surrounding normal tissue, which is called stroma. Pictured h
PHOTO: SGH

The technology was developed by SGH, A*Star's Singapore Immunology Network (SIgN) and the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, and optical medical imaging equipment company HistoIndex.

It provides a tool to visualise and quantify the spatial distribution and "cross-talk" among different immune cells, which may attack or promote cancer; different immune and cancer markers and the pattern of collagen fibres, said Dr Yeong, who is also a research fellow at SIgN.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2016, with the headline 'Beautiful Science'. Print Edition | Subscribe