JERUSALEM, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Israeli researchers have developed a new technology for sampling tissues without the pain and risk of biopsy tests, Tel Aviv University (TAU) in central Israel reported Wednesday.
The innovative method, published in the journal Scientific Reports, is based on the physical technique of electroporation, the application of high voltage pulsed electric fields to tissues, to sample intracellular fluids only and not whole tissue.
Current cancer treatment courses often begin with tissue biopsies, which may lead to localized tissue injury, bleeding, inflammation, and stress, as well as increased risk of metastasis.
Another disadvantage of biopsy tests is that the sample taken this way is local and does not provide comprehensive mapping on the entire tumor.
The new method, however, avoids these negative consequences, by using electric field to increase the penetrability of the cell membrane.
For the research, the scientists used electroporation to extract proteins and RNA from several normal human tissues, including liver tissues, and from a liver cancer model in mice.
It was found then that the molecular profiles of the measured samples were reliable and accurate.
Unlike biopsy tests, the new method does not damage the tissue and can detect the presence of a tumor in an organ even when the exact location of the tumor is unknown.
It can also allow sampling from various locations and comprehensive mapping of the tissue or tumor.
The researchers now plan to develop a device for local extraction, thus enabling tumor heterogeneity mapping and the probing of tumor environment molecular composition.