Sensor Weights Cells with Unique Precision

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 14 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they have created a sensor that can measure cells with unprecedented precision, determining the rate at which single cells accumulate mass.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University researchers said their findings might explain how cells control their growth and why those controls fail in cancerous cells.


MIT Associate Professor Scott Manalis, who led the study, said his team found individual cells vary greatly in their growth rates, and also found evidence that cells grow exponentially.

The scientists said the new measurement system is the first technique that can measure a cell’s mass as it grows over a period of time, ranging from five to 30 minutes. Previous methods for measuring cell growth rates focused on volume or length measurements, and have not exhibited the necessary precision for revealing single cell growth models, the scientists said.

The study that included Michel Godin, Francisco Delgado, Harvard Professor Marc Kirschner, Sungmin Son, William Glover, Andrea Bryan, Amit Tzur, Paul Jorgensen, Kris Payer and Alan Grossman appears in the journal Nature Methods.

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