Understanding initial cell and tissue changes in carcinogenesis

We are interested in elucidating the initial events in the process of carcinogenesis at tissue and cellular level. It is well accepted that histological aberrations in cells and tissue are preceded by molecular, genetic or epigenetic changes. However, existing knowledge of changes in cells/tissue is based to a large degree on their histological examination. This raises a question if these events are still accompanied by alterations that are histologically undetectable.

We have observed for the first time a series of alterations in histologically-normal appearing tissue at the earliest and previously undetectable stages of carcinogenesis including: 1) at the physiological level, the early increase in mucosal blood supply (EIBS), 2) at the tissue level, alterations in tissue microarchitecture, and 3) at the cellular level, alterations in cell nanoscale architecture. This suggests that molecular events and cell/tissue structure and physiology are more closely interrelated than previously thought.

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Backman's Biophotonics Laboratory at Northwestern University

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