New imaging equipment aids TTUHSC’s cancer research

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AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Amarillo is now one of just two facilities in the country in possession of revolutionary imaging equipment.

“This is a dream come true,” said Dr. Ulrich Bickel, TTUHSC Jerry H. Hodge School of Pharmacy Associate Dean of Sciences.

Dr. Bickel is referring to the new state-of-the-art imaging equipment.

The microscope system, which allows optical imaging of living cells, is just the first of three instruments that will help Texas Tech in its cancer research.

“Our colleagues here at the school of pharmacy are primarily interested in developing new drugs. This helps us watch these drugs into cells and the effects on cells that they have in cell culture. At this basic stage, this is a huge advance to be able to follow this into more detail,” said Dr. Bickel.

This was all made possible thanks to a $2.8 million grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

Dr. Bickel explains how closely they can now examine living cells.

“That little object that you can see through the microscope compared to a human hair is like if you take a human hair and compare it to a cable that’s like 10 inches in diameter,” said Dr. Bickel

Dr. Bickel said having the unique distinction of being just one of two facilities in the country with this equipment, will inspire collaboration with other institutes and in the process, medical breakthroughs.

“This is the only instrument that’s currently available in a wide region here. So we also hope that this will stimulate a lot of collaborations here in the future that we could have visitors once the COVID situation is over. We can connect to colleagues from other universities and other academic institutions. This is really something special,” said Dr. Bickel.

Dr. Bickel said the other two instruments will be installed and put to use in the coming months.

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