See-through organs and bodies will accelerate biomedical discoveries

July 31, 2014 4:04 PM

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See-through organs and bodies will accelerate biomedical discoveries

The ability to see through organs and even the entire body to visualize long-range connections between cells as well as fine-grained cellular structures has been a long-time dream of biologists. A study published by Cell Press July 31st in the journal Cell has now made that dream a reality, revealing simple methods for making opaque organs, bodies, and human tissue biopsies transparent, while keeping the cellular structures and connections intact. The protocols could pave the way for a better understanding of brain-body interactions, more accurate clinical diagnoses and disease monitoring, and a new generation of therapies for conditions ranging from autism to chronic pain.

"Although the idea of tissue clearing has been around for a century, to our knowledge, this is the first study to perform whole-body clearing, as opposed to first extracting and then clearing organs outside the adult body," says senior study author Viviana Gradinaru of the California Institute of Te...

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