A new microscope that enables pathologists to assess high-resolution images of biopsies and other fresh tissue samples for disease within minutes, without requiring the time-consuming preparation of conventional slides or destroying the tissue, has been named the top innovation for 2018 by Microscopy Today.
The technology, known as microscopy with UV surface excitation, or MUSE, holds promise for improving the speed and efficiency of patient care and medical research nationwide. The technology is being developed by Richard Levenson, professor and vice chair for strategic technologies in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at UC Davis, and is based on a phenomenon first observed by Stavros Demos, who is now at the University of Rochester.
MUSE microscopy uses ultraviolet light at wavelengths below the 300 nanometer range to penetrate the surface of tissue samples by only a few microns (about the same thickness of tissue slices on traditional microscope slides. Samples that have been stained with eosin or other standard dyes to highlight important features such as nuclei, cytoplasm and extracellular components produce signals from the UV excitation that are bright enough to be detected by conventional color cameras using sub-second exposure times. The process allows for rapid imaging of large areas and immediate interpretation.
“MUSE eliminates any need for conventional tissue processing with formalin fixation, paraffin embedding or thin-sectioning,” Levenson said. “It doesn’t require lasers, confocal, multiphoton or optical coherence tomography instrumentation, and the simple technology makes it well suited for deployment wherever biopsies are obtained and evaluated.”
MUSE’s ability to quickly gather high-resolution images without consuming the tissue is an especially important feature for DNA and other molecular functional tests because it quickly provides images from fresh tissue without exhausting the sample. The ability to obtain instant, high-resolution, full-color images for histology, pathology or toxicology studies is also useful for basic scientists who want to assess tissue samples from experimental animal models at the laboratory bench. The technology is being commercialized by MUSE Microscopy Inc.
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