Sep 26, 2023

Q&A: ‘Crystal ribcage’ technology pioneers new approaches to lung health

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

It’s no secret that our lungs play a vital role in our daily lives—ensuring we can breathe, fend off infections, and adapt to various challenges. Despite their importance, the organs still puzzle many medical experts, especially when they’re affected by diseases. While traditional tools like MRI and CT scans are helpful when a patient is experiencing a lung-related illness, they can still fall short in providing the detailed, real-time information needed to understand the intricacies of lung health.

Enter the groundbreaking innovation known as the crystal ribcage. Developed by researchers in Boston University’s College of Engineering, Pulmonary Center, Center for Multiscale and Translational Mechanobiology, and Neurophtonics Center, the technology is poised to revolutionize not only our understanding of lung function but also holds immense potential for other organs and treatments.

In new research, published this month in Nature Methods, the crystal ribcage acts as a clear, protective shield for a mouse’s lungs, allowing scientists to get a close view of how these organs work in real-time, and at a cellular level. What makes this technology special is that it doesn’t disrupt the lung’s natural processes—breathing and continue as usual while the researchers observe.

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