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Thursday, October 5, 2023
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Making a Deeper Dive

Even though each phase in our history bears a totally different look, they all share some big similarities. For instance, regardless of what times they are living in, humans have always tried their best to learn new things and become more complete over time. Now, by expanding our experiences, we would also sharpen up our already ingenious cognitive abilities. This, as you might guess, ended up allowing us to pursue goals that were once beyond our reach. In hindsight, however, we can see how doing so wasn’t just about unlocking a wider reach, but it also talked at length to discovering a whole new identity. To contextualize the claim, there is no better example than the one of technology. Technology appears as such a bright spot on our record for many reasons. Although built on the same old pattern of continuous growth, the creation notably introduced a dynamic that, in a way, accelerated human progression beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. It was encouraging us to explore places where we wouldn’t have gone for another gazillion years. With the changes in our landscape arriving thick and fast, we had no option but to forgo many longstanding ideas and embrace the new ones, hence setting ourselves up for a complete makeover on a personal and societal level. Nevertheless, the whole hullabaloo would prove worthwhile, and the same is backed up by various elements. One such element is the global medical sector. Having grown tremendously on the back of technology’s stewardship, the sector is still moving rather steadily on its unprecedented course. In fact, the industry’s prospects are only going to get better, if it keeps on delivering concepts comparable to what we recently saw from John Hopkins University.

The researching team at John Hopkins University has successfully developed a brand new imaging technique, which focuses on providing a deeper look into the vasculature of experimental animals. Structured around a unique blend of polymer contrast agents, the technique combines the capabilities of optical microscopy, MRI, and computed tomography (CT) to produce highly lucid vasculature tissue maps on different spatial scales. The extensive detail here sheds light on cells and tissue structures surrounding the blood vessels, therefore bringing us to the most significant component in play. You see, blood vessels seemingly have a say within several medical conditions. This information has previously got the researchers to put-together a full-fledged assortment of imaging techniques, except all these techniques suffer from some limitations or the other.

“Usually, if you want to gather data on blood vessels in a given tissue and combine it with all of its surrounding context like the structure and the types of cells growing there, you have to re-label the tissue several times, acquire multiple images and piece together the complementary information,” said Arvind Pathak, a researcher involved in the study. “This can be an expensive and time-consuming process that risks destroying the tissue’s architecture”

The John Hopkins’ brainchild, however, offsets the said limitations by finding an inroad to make different methods together. Named as VascuViz, the fresh approach enlists a fluorescent MRI contrast agent called Galbumin-Rhodamin and CT contrast agent called BriteVu before creating an inexpensive polymer blend, which, interestingly, displays enough strength to image both micro and macro-vasculature. Assuming the concept works out, it can answer some really complex questions relating to a wide variety of diseases.


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