Dissecting good from bad with laser-capture

1996

Challenge

Due to the mixture of cell types in a tumor biopsy, the ability to separate the different cells in order to study them discretely has been a long-standing problem in research.

Advance

IRP scientists led by Michael R. Emmert-Buck, M.D., Ph.D., William M. Bonner, Ph.D., and Lance Liotta, M.D., Ph.D., invented laser-capture microdissection (LCM) to rapidly and precisely select specific cells from a biopsy sample. Using a low-energy laser beam and special transfer film, LCM enables researchers to isolate normal, precancerous, and cancer cells for analysis.

Impact

This novel technology provides a solution to the problem of isolation and purification of distinct cells within a given tissue sample. LCM has become a well-established research tool used throughout the world, and has been enhanced and expanded into many new biomedical applications.

Publications

Emmert-Buck MR, Bonner RF, Smith PD, Chuaqui RF, Zhuang Z, Goldstein SR, Weiss RA, Liotta LA. (1996). Laser capture microdissection. Science. 274(5289), 998-1001.