Flipping the view: New microscope offers options for drug discovery, safety

Phys.org | February 27, 2019

A new type of microscope may give doctors a better idea of how safely and effectively a medication will perform in the body. A Purdue University team developed the microscope based on concepts of phase-contrast microscopy, which involves using optical devices to view molecules, membranes or other nanoscale items that may be too translucent to scatter the light involved with conventional microscopes.
"One of the problems with using the available microscopes or optical devices is that they require a point of reference for the scattered light, since the object being viewed is too optically transparent to scatter the light itself," said Garth Simpson, a professor of analytical and physical chemistry in Purdue's College of Science, who led the research team. "We created a unique kind of microscope that stacks the reference object and the one being examined on top of each other with our device, instead of the conventional approach of having them side by side." The Purdue microscope uses technology to interfere light from a sample plane and a featureless reference plane, quantitatively recovering the subtle phase shifts induced by the sample. The work is published in the Feb. 18 edition of Optics Express.

Spotlight

The EU describes personalized medicine as “providing the right treatment to the right patient, at the right dose at the right time”. By taking into account genetic factors, doctors will be able to recognize at diagnosis which patients are more likely to benefit from a particular treatment. The outcome of this is wide-ranging increased wellbeing, fewer side effects, and lower costs. In contrast, the current model is essentially based on trial and error.

Spotlight

The EU describes personalized medicine as “providing the right treatment to the right patient, at the right dose at the right time”. By taking into account genetic factors, doctors will be able to recognize at diagnosis which patients are more likely to benefit from a particular treatment. The outcome of this is wide-ranging increased wellbeing, fewer side effects, and lower costs. In contrast, the current model is essentially based on trial and error.

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