Scientists have now developed a 3D programme that can identify, tag and track live cells, capturing patterns of motion and cell division by using sequences of microscopic time-lapse images.
“This type of imaging is important because it allows us to see and measure relationships between cells and their environment,” said Andrew Cohen, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
“This is key to study abnormal cell proliferation that causes cancer, and also to using stem cells in regenerative medicine,” Cohen added.
A protocol and its accompanying software programme called LEVER (Lineage Editing and Validation programme) lets a researcher delineate cells, colour code them and denote the exact moment of their division.
“LEVER is easier and more accurate than processing the data manually, and provides more data than what can be obtained by hand,” Cohen said.
“It is like photoshop for cell biologists. The software outlines cells and blood vessels, keeping track of them as they are dividing and moving around one another,” he added.