20 November 2013
Vol 5, Issue 212

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Mechanophenotyping. Cancer cells have different mechanical properties than their healthier counterparts. Malignant cells are more "deformable" than benign cells, and such deformability can be used to diagnose disease, as shown by Tse et al. in this week’s issue. The authors created a microfluidic device where cells can be flowed through opposing channels (from the top and the bottom of the cross-section on the cover). When a cell (depicted with purple nucleus) reaches the intersection of the opposing flow streams, it deforms, as if hitting a fluidic wall. Using a high-speed camera, the authors could measure the deformability of each cell; the higher the deformability, the greater the likelihood of disease. This "mechanophenotyping" approach, now being tested in patients, could be used to diagnose diseases, like cancer, earlier. See related Focus by Guck and Chilvers. [CREDIT: V. ALTOUNIAN AND C. BICKEL/SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE]