The Telethon Kids Institute of the University of Western Australia (UWA) has come up with a remarkable technique to view the insides of the cell with peculiar detail. It is still unprecedented what a complicated web of interactions would be found inside the cell with this level of tech.
The study on which the researchers have aimed this technique is to understand how the cells stay healthy. This will also be a breakthrough for those suffering from mitochondrial diseases. These diseases were first discovered around 35 years ago but no one could find a cure until now.
When cells are examined at a finer level scientists will be able to study the reason behind intracellular diseases and develop cures for them. Therefore, diseases that are today incurable could find a treatment in future with this technology.
What Did UWA Researchers Do?
Professor Aleksandra Filipovska is the lead researcher in this project. She is the Lou Landau Chair in Child Health Research at Telethon Kids Institute and UWA. She and her team of researchers are using advanced cellular Biology techniques to visualise cells in a 3D structure.
This will help them to analyse the systematic approach the cell organelles use to maintain cell health and heal through internal cooperation. This will also help them identify where these organelles fail and how medicinal research can bridge that gap.
Professor Filipovska is using ion beam scanning electron microscopy to read the 3D models of cells. This is a very powerful imaging technique. The cells this imaging is reading for the hypothesis are genetically engineered for mutations that damage cell organelles. This will help to read focussed cell functions in repairing the organelles system.
What Has Been Studied So Far?
Improper functioning of even one organelle affects the entire cell. Therefore, for a cell to be healthy, all its organelles should be functioning well. Moreover, the organelles work with the help of certain types of fats.
If some genes related to the production or transport of these fats are non-functional, fats do not reach the cells and the organelles start malfunctioning. The mitochondria which is the powerhouse of the cell is primarily affected both in functionality and structural integrity.
The Golgi apparatus that essentially deals with fats and proteins also shows disrupted behaviour. Hence, cell communication and functioning are affected. Thanks to the detailed imaging of the cellular system, a potential cure for the problem has been discovered.
If these cells are provided with fat blocks for their processing the cell function will return to normal. This is an amazing discovery and is leading researchers to amazing inventions. Luckily for students studying at UWA, it is a great opportunity to learn from these professors and be a part of such projects if they are in the right stream.
Moreover, this is just one project. There are plenty more opportunities in different fields that students can be a part of. However, if you want to keep reading more such exciting information, make sure you follow Leverage Edu News Updates.