Cancer-vision, brought to you by transparent mice


Using chemical techniques that make whole mouse bodies and organs highly transparent, researchers can track metastasis at the single-cell level.


A detailed CUBIC scan of a mouse brain. Blood vessels are shown in green, cancer cells in red.
Hiroki R. Ueda et al.
The CUBIC technique allows researchers to zoom in to the level of individual cells.
The CUBIC technique allows researchers to zoom in to the level of individual cells.
Hiroki R. Ueda et al.

Japanese researchers have developed a new type of chemical mixture that enables them to examine the spread of cancer in mice like never before.

When used in conjunction with current imaging technology, this mixture known as CUBIC (Clear Unobstructed Brain/Body Imaging Cocktail), allows scientists to view cancer at the single cell level because of the compound’s ability to make the bodies and organs of mice highly transparent. The research is published in Cell Reports.

This development is already providing new insights into the relatively misunderstood process of metastasis – the growth and spread of cancerous cells around the body - and could also aid the understanding of other medically relevant or disease-related single-cell processes in the future.

  1. http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(17)30806-9
  2. http://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(17)30806-9
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